The most effective churches take care of a community’s physical needs as well as spiritual needs, and use Jesus as an example. Before starting the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used five loaves and two fishes to feed 5,000 men — not even counting women and children. Even before He began His ministry, He took care of the wedding guests first.
Tabernacle Church took those principles to heart with the official opening of the ACP/REA Vision Care Center on March 12, 2022.
A group full of city officials, well-wishers, and church members witnessed the opening of the only vision care center in Miami’s Little Haiti and El Portal neighborhoods.
The purpose is to provide affordable vision care to those who need it most. The vision care will be spearheaded by Lenny McCalla, D.O., head of health ministries at Tabernacle Church, and Rhonda LeBlanc, D.O., president of Rhonda Eyes Alliance. Both have given their time and talents to underserved communities throughout the Caribbean, and decided to turn their attention to south Florida.
“Our work started by a visit to Haiti, and that’s when we realized there was so much need. We started out with recycled glasses …. but we have a clinic with the locals running it. I have concluded that God took us through those 14 years [in Haiti] to continue the work [in south Florida],” said LeBlanc.
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Florida congresswoman, had a representative present a certificate of special congressional recognition:
“This is [Albert C. Pierre Community Service Center and Rhonda Eyes Alliance] their first inner city vision care center designed to assist the underserved.
“Underserved communities are at greater risk for undiagnosed and uncorrected eye vision disorders and diseases. This vision care center that will now be serving the community, and can help children with learning, adults with job performance, and everyone with home safety. The gift of sight is priceless.”
To further support the initiative, Cherfilus-McCormick sponsored vision care services for the first 10 children to be examined. The center is housed on the first floor of Tabernacle Church with two fully equipped examination rooms.
The vision care center opened March 25, 2022, to patients for the first time, and they came away impressed.
Senior citizen Lillian Boswell-Hall was examined. She has cataracts and needs surgery. Her daughter, Cyrena Hall, was “so glad we came. We learned so much more about her condition, and now she will get the help she needs.”
Boswell-Hall’s cousin, Martha Rampersad, took time off to come as well. “Her visit was long overdue. Now we will bring her back to do follow-ups here at the clinic because we were given more information about her condition and necessary treatment.”
Albert C. Pierre Community Service Center has now added another program to benefit people of all ages. H.O.P.E. Summer Camp is designed for summer educational enrichment, Pierre’s Pantry provides supplemental groceries and hot meals for the community on the third Sunday of each month at Tabernacle; and runs Pure Reality, a mentorship program for teens and youths.
If you would like more information on the vision care center, please visit www.acpcommunityservice.org/acp-rea-vision-care-center.
Southeastern | June 2022