The workers and volunteers at the Community Free Clinic understand the concept of giving back to the community.
Venetia Skahen, 47, believes her job is what she was born to do.
As director of the clinic in Concord, Skahen works to coordinate volunteers to help provide health care and pharmacy services for the uninsured and low-income members of the community.
"We've had people see doors slammed in their faces," said Skahen, who is in charge of operations, finance, personnel, fundraising and public relations at the clinic. But "if people can't go to work because they're sick, then they can't make money to pay for their food and shelter."
The clinic offers a Night Clinic program from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and a Day Clinic program from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays.
New patients are taken on Tuesday afternoons by appointment, Skahen says. It operates with the support of volunteer area physician specialists, medical professionals, pharmacists and administrative staff members and provides care for Cabarrus County residents without insurance and a household income of 125 percent of Federal Poverty or less.
The clinic works with Carolina Medical Center - NorthEast, LabCorp, Cabarrus Community Health Centers, Cabarrus County Department of Social Services and Cooperative Christian Ministry to provide care.
A primary care physician, internist or a family practitioner sees patients. Emergency room doctors are on staff as well. Patients are sent to a specialist if there's a situation that cannot be handled at the clinic.
Skahen says she has seen a decline of volunteers and funding as a result of the recession.
"We are turning away more people," she said.
The clinic now operates with three full-time and seven part-time workers.
"I've been wanting to do something where I could give back to the community, work in a nonprofit environment," said Skahen, who has worked in the private sector for more than 10 years.
"This is what I was called to do," Skahen said. "I see this as my opportunity to try to make the world around me a little bit better. We all have that responsibility, and I think we all get opportunities to do that if we want to. Some of those are little, some of those are big."
Founded in 1994 by retired physicians Dr. George Liles and Dr. David Lockhart, the clinic began with the Night Clinic program.
Skahen lives with her husband, Jim, and two daughters, Catherine and Rebecca, in Concord. Catherine is a freshman at Clemson University and Rebecca is a sophomore at Concord High School.