Jesse Shuff was holding a black bag Friday as he stood in front of a supply closet in the Physician Assistant Department at Georgia Health Sciences University.
“Anything else we can throw in here?” he asked the other first-year physician assistant students picking through medical supplies. Concerned about the availability of flu shots for Augusta’s homeless, the physician assistant students dug out $1,260 to buy 100 shots for the homeless that they will distribute in a clinic today. Part of it came from money left to them by a previous class and some comes from their own fundraisers.
“It’s funny because you feel a little silly as a graduate student out washing cars,” said Jennifer Chapman, the student director of the Christ Church Health Clinic that the class puts on each month. “But it is fun and we had a great time and we raised over $250.”
Flu shots are offered all over town but cost $20-$30, Shuff said.
“For some people, that’s a lot of money,” he said.
“They don’t have money to fill prescriptions; they don’t have money for clothes; they don’t have money for food,” Chapman said. “So the last thing they are going to do is spend money on a flu shot.”
The students already run the monthly clinic in conjunction with Christ Episcopal Church, but the clinic today allows them to team up with Mercy Ministries, which will give away coats in addition to other services. The shots could be an important preventive measure for the homeless, said class President Elizabeth Prince-Coleman.
Helping out the homeless and those in need is something the students hope to do after they begin their practices, said student Caroline Poirier.
“Hopefully, taking the things that we are learning here into our futures with us,” she said. “And maybe helping to start something elsewhere or joining something that is already there.”