In November 2005, several months after Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding in New Orleans, there were a number of churches offering St. Anna’s Episcopal Church assistance to help the community. One of those offerings was a second-hand RV from parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi, Stamford, CT, that was recognized as a potential
mobile medical unit to offer much needed healthcare services. Donor churches, St. Anna’s parishioners and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana rallied around the concept of the mobile medical unit, and SAMM was born.
As things go, the donated RV was not “road worthy”, but through the generosity of many individuals, churches and groups around the country we were able to secure a second-hand RV and reconfigure it for our needs. The back of the RV reflects the names of those who contributed as little as $12.50 or as much as $12,000 towards its purchase.
While waiting for the RV to arrive, screenings were conducted at the church and at small fairs using a card table. Partnerships began forming and contacts were made to provide medical care on the unit once it arrived in late June 2006, when we began working in various communities four days a week, as well as continuing to do occasional fairs on weekends.
In 2008 St. Anna’s Episcopal Church, through SAMM, was named one of only two Health & Resilience Centers in New Orleans by REACH-NOLA (www.reachnola.org), a community-academic partnership working to create innovative partnerships that improve health in the New Orleans community. the goal of this project was to focus ont he mental health issues through the use of culturally acceptable programs.
In 2007, CityBusiness Magazine named SAMM a “Non-Profit Innovator of the Year”.
In 2010, through two generous grants, we were able to trade-in our first RV for a custom designed mobile medical unit.
April 2010 – Blessing of the new mobile medical unit.