Healthcare has always been a hot topic of discussion, a part of the broader spectrum of things that increase the standard of living in a community. When it comes to fighting for equitable treatment and a healthier lifestyle, Jennifer Yeagley is at the forefront. She is the CEO of St. Petersburg Free Clinic, an organization helping to give everyone an opportunity to live healthily. Yeagley spoke with WMNF WaveMakers on March 1.
Listen to the full episode here, by searching for WMNF WaveMakers wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, or below.
St. Petersburg Free Clinic, or SPFC, is not just helping the community meet medical needs. Yeagley said that the organization responds to all kinds of “social determinants of health.” This includes medical assistance but also spans into housing, food and dental care. Wherever there are gaps, Yeagley said SPFC will step in.
“The Free Clinic’s ethos has always been: Where there is a need that is going unmet, if it is related to health and we find that that is within our mission then we want to step into that gap,” she said.
With over 250 active volunteers each month, SPFC’s multiple programs aim to serve the 46% of the Pinellas County population that’s living either in poverty or as an Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) citizen.
Among their programs is the notable We Help FRESH food pantry, which serves nearly 20,000 individuals per month. Their distribution food bank served over 20.4 million pounds of food in 2021 alone and serves over 50 community partners.
The Tampa Bay area’s housing crisis is another issue that SPFC acknowledges as part of its mission. Their utility assistance helps to pay bills in order to continue to provide access to basic housing and sanitation needs. They also provide transitional housing to men and women facing homelessness and working toward substance abuse recovery.
Yeagley told WMNF that over the 22 years she’s been in the world of nonprofits and community help, the needs and demands have not decreased. Rather, there has continued to be an increase in those who need help as the cost of living has risen without a rise in wages. The volume of clients that the nonprofit serves have led to a need for more space. In the future, SPFC will look to expand its spaces in order to best provide for the ever-growing number of clients.