Clergy alliance to open headquarters today CURE building to offer free health care clinic

December 16, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

After nine years of planning and prayer, Clergy United for the Renewal of East Baltimore has a place to call home.

The ecumenical alliance of 239 churches will open its headquarters today at 901 N. Broadway. The new three-story structure will house CURE's administrative offices and a free health care clinic to be run by Heart, Body & Soul, a division of CURE.

"Our mission is to educate people about health care," said the Rev. Melvin B. Tuggle II, CURE president, at the building dedication Friday. "We realize people perish for lack of knowledge. We realize that knowledge is power."

Ten health care workers will staff the clinic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. They will provide free health screenings and educate East Baltimore residents about preventive medical care. Information about health maintenance organizations will be available.

"Health care has not always been a main concern in African-American communities because we were dealing with so many other issues -- crime, racism and unemployment," said the Rev. Anthony Johnson, first vice president of CURE, which was founded in 1987. "As a result, many residents of East Baltimore don't know where to go for medical care. As pastors, we realize we have a responsibility to direct them."

The CURE pastors hope to do more than provide health screenings and disseminate information about HMOs. They want to recruit and train East Baltimore residents to become volunteer health care providers.

"Our goal is to have a volunteer on every block in East Baltimore," Tuggle said. Classes will begin at the CURE headquarters next month, he added.

Three decrepit rowhouses, which were donated to CURE by the city and Johns Hopkins Hospital, were demolished about nine months ago to make way for the group's headquarters.

Construction of the building was covered by $400,000 in city community development bonds, $500,000 in state bonds, a $100,000 donation from the Weinberg Foundation, a $100,000 loan from NationsBank and $5,000 in private donations.

Pub Date: 12/16/96

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