As Published on the—Written by Keira McGuire | Jun 23, 2016 9:57 AM

(Harrisburg) — Tucked behind St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg, you’ll find a place that has become a source of hope for many in Harrisburg. The Beacon Clinic for Health and Hope is a free health clinic. The clinic opened about a year and a half ago. Already they’ve treated over 320 patients and they’ve had over 420 return visits.

Ruth Stoll, a nurse for most of her life, helped open the doors to the clinic. It’s funded only on grants and donations, so it’s no easy task keeping the doors open. Still, Stoll hopes patients will keep taking advantage of the free services. She says the clinic is intended to provide primary care to a population that often relies on the emergency room. When you’re making choices between food, shelter and heat – Stoll says routine healthcare is not always a priority.

The patient population at Beacon Clinic for health and Hope consists of the uninsured and the underinsured – those who have health insurance but can’t afford the copay.

While Beacon clinic for Health and Hope is a health clinic, they treat more than coughs and colds. In fact, a typical new-patient appointment runs about an hour at Beacon. Stoll says in order to treat a patient’s health problems they often need to address shelter, food and employment issues as well – and that takes time.

The name, Beacon Clinic for Health and Hope, is no accident. Stoll, who spends her time as a volunteer at the clinic, says she hopes the clinic is a beacon of hope for patients. A reminder that there is a way through challenging times.