By Pat KRAMER
On Saturday, July 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Medical Mission Adventures will hold a free, one-day event providing routine medical, dental and optical checkups to anyone who needs them. This one-time event is courtesy of the Making it Happen ministry of Chapel of the Hills Church at 11120 Oro Vista Ave. in Sunland. There is no income requirement to receive services. Attendees are only required to fill out a simple application. Those in attendance will be serviced on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Pattee Colvin, who founded the Making it Happen ministry in December 2013, said the goal is to help as many people as possible.
“Children and parents who haven’t had their teeth cleaned or need minor filling work, a tooth extracted or who need a pair of glasses or a checkup, can be seen free of cost. Our goal is to service 100 to 150 people on that day.”
Making it Happen is focused on giving a helping hand so people can help themselves. There is a weekly food pantry every Saturday at the Oro Vista church at 2 p.m. and a hot meal on Sundays at 3:30 p.m. The ministry also offers a faith-based recovery program, referrals to low-income housing and mental health services and free dog food for those who can’t afford to keep their animals fed.
“When I started my ministry,” said Colvin, “I was looking to help the homeless, but now it’s more about helping [people in] the community who need help.”
Colvin knows very well what it’s like to be homeless. For seven years, she lived on the streets of Sunland-Tujunga, camping in the Tujunga Wash and in the area formerly known as “Jurassic Park.”
“While I was living out there in the Wash,” said Colvin, “I worked a full-time job. It was so much different than it is now. We were a family out there – we watched out for each other. It wasn’t the perfect setting but the violence and the drugs being moved today didn’t happen. It’s very sad to see the young kids and the young women with kids out there now.”
In the late ’90s, Colvin and others were able to get a free meal once a month and on major holidays in Sunland Park, organized by a group of local women. Then in 2002, Chapel of the Hills began its free meal program on Sundays that Colvin said helped her stay focused.
The crucial turning point for Colvin came in April 2005 when her boyfriend, Benny, died leaving her and her four dogs not only homeless but also alone. It was then that Colvin turned to the church for help and began concentrating on who “Pattee” was.
In 2006, Colvin was invited to help run Chapel of the Hills’ hot meal program on Sundays. That effort led to her organizing a collection and distribution of bread to members of the community who needed a little help. In 2008, the bread giveaways expanded into the present day food pantry, held on Saturdays, which distributes free groceries to 65 to 100-plus people every week.
With the help she received, Colvin was able to get a job and a place to live, temporarily, in the community that led to steady employment.
“I now own my own place at the mobile home park and have held the same job for 10 years, but it all started with someone giving me a chance to help myself,” she said. “As I continued to try and do things right, doors opened for me and opportunities presented themselves.”
With the upcoming free medical, dental and optical event provided by Making it Happen ministry and Medical Mission Adventures, Colvin is taking the next step in trying to help those who need a helping hand. Her goal is to offer this event twice a year, if possible.