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As far as SVdP Indy partners go, Gennesaret Free Clinics is one of our longest-standing relationships. The two organizations joined forces about 20 years ago, and continue to dream big about what we can do together—all for the benefit of the neighbors we serve.

Gennesaret is located inside SVdP’s 30th Street Food Pantry. For many years, it was one of several mini-clinics that Gennesaret would hold throughout the city. However, in recent years, Gennesaret leadership began to look for ways to remove barriers. Instead of being somewhere different each day, they wanted to make it easy for patients to find them and get an appointment. As a result, the clinic’s new hub-and-spoke model was formed.

They choose the SVdP food pantry location as the medical hub and now are open to patients six days a week (see schedule below). Additionally, Gennesaret’s mobile unit serves as the spoke, visiting different areas of town throughout the week for those who may not be able to get to the clinic.

Gennesaret Hub: SVdP Food Pantry

Making the food pantry the clinic’s hub just made sense, for both SVdP and Gennesaret.

“We’re serving the same neighbors,” says Peter Zubler, SVdP executive director. “People who live in this area don’t have many options for food or healthcare—and transportation can be a barrier. Food and health are so intricately linked, that it just made sense to strengthen the way we partner together.”

Theresa Patterson, executive director of Gennesaret, agrees: “We’ve intentionally chosen to focus on those living in this zip code. We know that those in the 46218 area have a shorter life expectancy than others—by a full 15 years at times. By providing healthy food and quality medical care, we’re hoping to change that.”

Transforming the Space

As part of the new approach, Gennesaret decided to renovate its space within the food pantry. Patterson explains that they wanted the space to appear as high quality as the medical care itself. Equally, they wanted everyone to feel welcome and safe.

“We wanted a space that was more visually welcoming,” explains Patterson. “We painted the walls a calming color, added more comfortable furniture, and reorganized the space for more privacy and quiet. Inside our walls, you’d never know there are hundreds of people outside going through the pantry.”

Going through the renovations only strengthened Gennesaret’s confidence in choosing SVdP for the hub.

“SVdP has been so receptive and helpful throughout the entire process,” Patterson explains. “It wasn’t just ‘Yes, you can do that’ but ‘Yes, and we’ll help you!’ Peter and the entire leadership team bent over backwards to help us transform the space, so it helped us better serve patients. It was truly amazing.”

How Gennesaret Started

It’s really not at all surprising that the SVdP-Gennesaret partnership has flourished. After all, the idea for Gennesaret was born in a local soup kitchen in 1988. Dr. James A. Trippi, a local physician, was volunteering at a soup kitchen, and as he watched the people receiving meals—most of whom were experiencing homelessness—he began diagnosing their ailments in his head. When he asked if they had medical care, the response he heard was overwhelmingly, “no.”

On future visits, Dr. Trippi began packing his black bag and brought some of his colleagues together to provide basic healthcare. This eventually gave birth to Gennesaret Free Clinics—the first nonprofit organization in Indianapolis to bring quality medical care to individuals regardless of insurance status or their ability to pay.

Gennesaret Services Today

Today, Gennesaret offers multiple services:

  • Primary care
  • Urgent care
  • Point-of- care lab testing (metabolic panel and lipid profile), which provides information in the moment while patient is there
  • A small pharmacy with a formulary of medications on site
  • Women’s Wednesdays with breast exams, pap smears, STI testing and treatment, etc.

In addition to the clinic and mobile unit, Gennesaret has a dental clinic as well as a health respite home with 12 beds for those who need care post hospital stays.

How You Can Help

Gennesaret would like help spreading the word about how often they’re open and the many free services they provide. Additionally, the clinic is always looking for medical professional volunteers (must be licensed) and Spanish translators.

Gennesaret Hours at SVdP Food Pantry

  • Monday: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday (Women’s Health Services only): 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 5-7 pm
  • Friday 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Appointments recommended but walk-ins accepted. Appointments are required for Women’s Health Services.