Mention North Shore Health Centers, and one may think of community health, a
place where anyone can go for medical care regardless of insurance or
ability to pay.
But as Len Schmidt of North Shore’s Business and Foundation Development
points out, healthy meals are vital to one’s good health, as is having
accessible and affordable health care.
And so it’s only fitting that NorthShore this holiday season has reached out
-- in a very big way -- to four food pantries in the area including the
Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry in Chesterton.
NorthShore, a non-profit federally qualified community health center based
in Portage, is delivering a $500 donation, along with 50 hams, to each of
the food pantries in its service area: Chesterton, Portage, Lake Station and
Hobart. Westchester Neighbors received its donation on Wednesday, in time
for its annual Christmas meal distribution set for Dec. 21.
The North Shore donation, along with a multitude of other donated goods,
will definitely be put to good use: So far this year, the Food Pantry has
seen a 21 percent increase in individuals and families seeking assistance.
The food pantry expects to serve about 265 at the Christmas distribution,
set for 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Schmidt said NorthShore is happy to be helping out other non-profits that
share its mission of promoting good health for those in need.
“We help out the needy. That’s what we do,” he said.
About NorthShore: Begun as a clinic in Portage High School in 1995,
NorthShore now operates medical and dental clinics at four sites in Portage
and Lake Station. The Portage locations are the Stacy McKay Health &
Education Center, 6450 U.S. 6, and the Scottsdale NorthShore Center, 2490
Services provided include primary and pediatric medical care, well child
exams, school and sports physicals, parenting education, health and wellness
education, obstetrical/gynecologic care, prenatal and family care, family
planning services, lab testing, digital X-ray, diagnostic ultrasound, dental
services, urgent care, and behavioral health and family counseling.
The centers are all open to the public, with the fees based on a sliding
scale according to the payor’s ability to pay. Medicaid and Hoosier
Healthwise insurances are accepted.
In the 12-month period ending in August, NorthShore provided medical care to
just over 28,000 patients, roughly 2,000 of whom were from the Chesterton
area, representing nearly 87,000 patient visits.
The patient visits are up considerably from previous years: Visits totaled
just over 65,000 in 2009 and nearly 45,000 the year before.
About a third -- 34 percent -- of NorthShore’s patients have commercial
insurance, while 31 percent are uninsured and another 31 percent are on
Medicaid. The remaining 4 percent are covered by Medicare.
Fifty-eight percent of the patients are between the ages of 19 and 64, while
40 percent are under 18.
For more information about NorthShore, call 763-8112 or go online at
The Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry is located in the Duneland Resale Shop
building at 801 Broadway, Chesterton. Those who wish to make monetary
donations can send their check or money order to the Westchester Neighbors
Food Pantry, P.O. Box 902, Chesterton, IN 46304.