When Betty walked through the doors of United Way-supported Compass Health Network (formerly Crider Health Center), she didn’t think she’d be leaving on a gurney.
She was 57 years old and had been fatigued and short of breath. Her primary doctor at Crider concluded the unforeseen. Betty had a heart attack. In fact, it happened right as they were running tests, and she had no idea that’s what was wrong.
On her way to the emergency room, she had two more consecutive attacks. She fell into a coma, her organs began to shut down, and she was placed on life support. Her chances of survival were low, but after weeks in recovery and a life-saving surgery, Betty was back on her feet.
“Had it not been for Crider, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “They saved my life.”
Crider didn’t stop at saving Betty’s life. Their care and compassion is something that follows Betty each and every day. Since the heart attacks, Betty checks in with her doctor there every few months. She receives helpful information on proper diet from their in-house nutritionist. While she’s there, she can see her dentist. And before she leaves, she can stop by the pharmacy to pick up her 13 prescriptions.
This means Betty is able to get the high-level, quality care she needs all in one state-of-the-art facility, just a few miles from her Warrenton home. Crider provides Betty the resources to live her healthiest possible life.
Crider understands that everyone – no matter the level of income – deserves medical attention if and when they need it. They know, for people like Betty, it can mean the difference between life and death.
Their four facilities specialize in integrated care for more than 22,000 residents of Franklin, Lincoln, St. Charles and Warren counties. Thanks to United Way’s support, they are able to provide services to help the whole individual and all of their needs, not just one.
“We call them wrap-around services, where we put the client in the middle and wrap all of the services around them,” said Shaun Roland, Crider Health Center’s community engagement associate.
As part of Crider’s holistic approach, they provide community support through health and wellness programs, such as their Mobile Market, a monthly food pick-up that provides local families with a healthy mix of fresh, canned and dry food.
The program began in 2013 when the St. Louis Area Foodbank identified a high need for food in Warren County. Together, the two United Way agencies partnered to help feed those in the area who needed it most.
Since then, the Mobile Market has progressively grown and expanded to feed individuals in Franklin and St. Charles. Since its inception, the program has distributed more than 250,000 pounds of food to more than 4,500 families, including Betty’s.
“Every month the line of cars seems to grow longer,” Roland said. “I see the smiles, the gratitude and the humility of those receiving the food. I get the hugs, hear the ‘thank yous’ and feel the hand squeezes.”
Betty, retired, has trouble making ends meet. Because of her heart, she needs to maintain a healthy diet. For this, the Mobile Market is perfect.
Just a few miles from her house, Betty is able to fill her pantry and fridge with the food she needs. She doesn’t have to choose between nutritious food and medication because, thanks to Crider’s Mobile Market, she can have both.
“When you’re on a fixed income, it’s hard to stretch. I have bills to pay and medical needs,” Betty said. “If it wasn’t for the Mobile Market, I would be in dire straits.”
Today, the doctors at Crider continue to closely monitor Betty’s health to ensure she stays on track.
“Crider makes my life better,” she said. “I have grandchildren and want to be around to enjoy them.”
Thanks to Crider, she can.
About Crider Health Center
Crider Health Center cares for the overall well-being for those it serves as well as that of their families. Crider believes in a wrap-around philosophy, partnering with other local agencies and governmental entities to take care of physical and behavioral health needs to ensure people have adequate and healthy nourishment, housing and the skills they need to achieve their fullest potential. By treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of their illness, individuals are empowered to live full, productive, healthy lives. In 2014, Crider Health Center merged with Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare and in 2019 adopted the name of its parent organization, Compass Health Network. Through its network of more than 30 locations across Missouri, Compass Health Network serves in excess of 180,000 people every year.
About the St. Louis Area Foodbank
The St. Louis Area Foodbank began its service to the community in 1975. Since that time, the organization has grown to become the bi-state region’s largest nonprofit 501(c)(3) food distribution center dedicated to feeding those in need. Through a network of nearly 500 partner agencies in 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois, the Foodbank distributes more than 37 million pounds of food and personal care items annually. More than 392,000 people in the bi-state region rely on the Foodbank for assistance each year. The St. Louis Area Foodbank has been a United Way-funded agency since 1985.
Photos courtesy of Dan Gill for Crider Health Center.