In 2017, Frederiksted Health Care Inc., received a refrigerator from the Coca Cola Company and installed it in the front gallery of the health center to dispense free food, donated by restaurants and schools, to the town’s homeless population.
Until hurricanes Maria and Irma, food that otherwise would have been discarded was packaged in single serving containers, labeled and delivered to “Grace” and retrieved by those in need anytime day or night.
At that time, Alexander Henderson and Claude O. Markoe schools, Smoke STX, Blue Moon, Cozy Bar, UCA, Napoleon’s Pizza, Ital Trinity, Beachside Restaurant and Roadside Barbecue were some of the food donors.
However, donations have dropped off since the hurricanes and FHC Chief Executive Officer Masserae Sprauve-Webster and her staff have been making sandwiches for the dozen or so regulars, who they “know by name.” It is becoming a burden on the staff and Sprauve-Webster hopes potential donors can help.
Now that many of the restaurants and schools are no longer open, Sprauve-Webster is looking for assistance from the Frederiksted community – groceries, restaurants and individuals – to step in and donate what they can. Cooked food is preferable, but individual servings of Jell-O, fruit and granola bars are welcome.
“Even an extra plate of food that you cooked is welcome,” she said.
FHC is extending itself in the era of coronavirus. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the health care facility has delivered packets with soap, safety pins, masks, gloves and other hygiene items around town.
To cope with additional patients, they have set up tents for health screenings. They do not test for the virus, but the staff contacts the Department of Health about those with symptoms. They advise them to stay at home unless their health deteriorates.
“We are encouraging everyone to call us first and we are pushing telemedicine visits. We tell people to stay at home as much as possible,” Sprauve-Webster said.
Sprauve-Webster pointed out that the U.S. Congress lifted the requirement that a patient must be seen on the premises of the medical facility and people can participate in a virtual visit with an off-site physician from the comfort of their homes.
Frederiksted Health Care Inc. is a nonprofit primary health care facility in Frederiksted. The clinic, founded in 2000, is federally certified.