The Zarephath Health Center opened in September 2003, after many years of planning and preparation. It began as a response to the growing health care access problem in the state of New Jersey. Insurance mandates were causing health insurance rates to go out of reach, and government programs for the poor were increasingly bureaucratic and ineffective.
The concept of the Zarephath Health Center began in the minds of Drs. John and Alieta Eck, two local physicians. Frustrated by the inadequacy of the health insurance system in NJ, they sought to provide a place where volunteers could donate services, funds and equipment to meet the needs of the poor and uninsured. Dr. John Eck, a family practitioner and his wife Dr. Alieta Eck, an internist, decided to develop a center where physicians could revert back to the old model of donating time each month to caring for those in need.
The Zarephath Health Center was given a building to use on the campus of Zarephath in Somerset, NJ. Devastated by Hurricane Floyd in September, 1999, 8 Liberty Square sat dormant for two years. Then the elders of the Pillar of Fire agreed to let us renovate it to be used as a health center. Fifteen months later, after hours of volunteer work and skilled labor, it has become a beautiful facility, with three wheelchair accessible examining rooms.
The Caring Model
Volunteers are being instructed to help people in many ways. They are being trained with the curriculum developed by the Christian Medical Dental Associations, called the "Saline Solution." This course teaches how to come along side those who are hurting, and teach them that they care and that God cares. People with physical symptoms are often suffering from deep seated emotional and spiritual needs that keep them from getting well. Meeting those needs are the only way to become truly healthy.