When the COVID pandemic struck Detroit, its victims included many whose only health care resource was the Malta Dental and Medical Clinic (Malta Clinic), a ministry begun by the Order of Malta, whose charism is to defend the Catholic faith and care for the sick and the poor.

Catholic Foundation Team assembling hygiene kits during their Fall Service Day of Mercy at the Malta Dental Clinic.

Like many other Catholic Foundation Grant Recipients, the Malta Clinic was forced to shut down as part of the effort but volunteers continued to care for the homeless by providing personal hygiene kits designed by Ed Jelonek D.O., the clinic’s medical director. Eighteen hundred kits were distributed to quarantine shelters and street mission teams by 60 volunteers.

Now, thanks to a new partnership with Catholic Charities of Southeastern Michigan (CCSEM), the Malta Clinic shares the Center for the Works of Mercy (Center) building at 8642 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 48202. The additional services provided at the Center are a food pantry, clothes closet, returning citizen (prisoner) outreach ministry, case management, behavioral health therapy, senior volunteering program and Project Hope.

The Malta Clinic has state-of-the-art equipment and provides quality care for the uninsured. Dental care includes dental examinations, dental radiographs, extractions, fillings, and teeth replacement with dentures and partials. Medical care includes physical examinations and care (including prescription drugs) for chronic diseases, diabetes, blood pressure, asthma and other conditions. The patients are the homeless, elderly and veterans.

Ed Jelonek, D.O and Mary Therese Hammer, R.N.,C.N.A

All care is provided by volunteers: Physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacy students from Eugene Applebaum School of Pharmacy and dental/dental hygiene students from the University of Detroit Mercy. The Malta Clinic also provides volunteering opportunities to premed/dental/pharmacy students, who need volunteer hours to apply to professional schools. Wayne State Medical Students come to the clinic every Wednesday. The Malta Clinic will expand services by hosting eye clinics and podiatry care. Nancy Harmon, R.D.H., the Clinic’s Dental Director adds, “We are always in need of volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering, please contact maltadentaldirector@gmail.com.”

Clinic President Thomas Larabell sees great potential for the Malta Clinic to serve more patients through its location with the Center. “The people who come to us don’t have just one, but many issues,” he observes. “They need food, clothing, health care, jobs, and a reason to hope. The Center’s clients will need health care, and our patients will need what the Center can offer.”

Malta staff with patient

A number of generous donors, responding to the Malta Clinic’s capital campaign, made it possible for the Clinic to get off to a strong start in its new home. Working with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan (Foundation) and opening a donor-designated fund has helped establish the Malta Clinic’s present and future work.

Thomas Larabell adds, “The Foundation takes care of many of our administrative concerns about donations, and offers us an additional way to advertise and promote our ministry.”

Nancy Harmon notes that the clinic reaches those who perhaps most need reassurance of God’s love and mercy because of the barriers they have faced. “Everyone is broken, but not all wounds are visible,” she observes. “We minister to those who are wounded on multiple levels: Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Through the Clinic’s work, we’re treating not only health needs, but also showing people that they are loved. That’s the most important work we do.”

Please join the Catholic Foundation in supporting this vital mission by giving to the designated fund. Through your generous gift, you help provide the joy of a smile and make a direct impact on someone in need.

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