“Our goal is to be able to open on Saturday
mornings for a few hours, since many of our patients
work long hours during the week, but that
will depend on our volunteers,” she said.
In 2016 The Plantation Community Foundation
of Venice presented the clinic with a $38,000 grant
to purchase a Piccolo Lab Analyzer. A second
one was purchased using funds from the Florida
Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to help
meet patient demands for lab services.
“Obviously, to provide effective medical care, we
need to have blood drawn … and we used to
have to send patients out with an order, but we’d
rarely get the results back,” she said. “Now we can
do that right here, and the entire process takes
about 15 minutes, and they can start treatments
that same night.”
The clinic will be moving into the West County
Annex Replacement building, which will be used
to house the Supervisor of Elections, the Tax
Collector, Social Services and the office of
Commissioner Truex. The new building will be a
structure of 20,000 square feet.
The current building will be leveled and the area
will serve as the new parking lot.
The organization has been fortunate to partner
with Charlotte County to lease the premises at
6868 San Casa Drive in Englewood for $1 per
The clinic is open on Monday and Thursday
evenings; from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Patients are seen
on a walk-in basis, so appointments are not necessary.
Dr. James organized the Christian Ministry Clinic
in Englewood in the late 1990s, but he wanted to
create something on a larger scale that would help
serve more patients on a consistent basis. That’s
how the idea for the free clinic originated.
He said the biggest reward resulting from
volunteering his time is when he sees patients who
were treated years ago, who return with a
healthier lifestyle and want to give back, either by
volunteering their time or making a donation.
“The gratitude the patients show is remarkable,
they’re truly thankful for getting help during some
of the most vulnerable
their lives,” he
Dr. James officially
starts as a
physician at the
Health Clinic on
March 1, 2018. He
comes to the island
Community Hospital where he served as
the Director of Emergency Medicine for 10 years.
Prior to that, he held the positions of Medical
Director & Emergency Medicine Physician at
Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port
Throughout his medical career, he has held a
number of leadership roles and has provided more
than 21 years of volunteer service within his community
and abroad. He is a graduate of Des
Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
He completed his residency at Metropolitan
Hospital, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is board certified
in Emergency Medicine.
One patient commented on the organization’s
website: “The level of compassion at this clinic is
outstanding. The care I receive makes me feel like
I truly count as a person - not just a number.”
The clinic is located at 6868 San Casa Drive in
Englewood. For more information, visit
The new building that will house the clinic is
in the process of being built. Construction is
expected to be completed in May of 2018.
42 GASPARILLA ISLAND 2018 March/April
Dr. Ray James