August 9th marked the two-year anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown’s shooting death, an incident which sparked unrest and an outcry of racial and economic injustices in St. Louis and the United States.
Rev. Donna Smith-Pupillo, Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries (DFCNM) Executive Director, remembers the months following Michael’s death in several ways. Most significantly, she remembers the time as a collection of personal stories about prejudice, life-long hurt and struggle. During those months, she worked at the United Way Drop-In Center where hundreds of people came to be heard, find compassion and obtain necessary resources, like water, food and hygiene supplies.
“Ferguson is home for me and that time in 2014 was painful to experience,” shared Pupillo. “However, it was a wake up call that myself and our nurses could do more to help people in the area.”
That “do more” creed has been central to DFCNM’s activities in the area for the last two years, where nurses are serving hundreds of people weekly. Our nurses work with adult and senior congregants at two churches in the area, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ and Immanuel United Church of Christ. Additionally, nurses support a weekly free clinic for uninsured residents at St. Peter’s, and earlier this month, DFCNM celebrated a new location for the St. Peter’s clinic at the Dellwood Resource Center, which serves residents in Ferguson and Dellwood.
“There is a lot of work to be done in our Region, and Ferguson is one of many areas that needs attention,” said Pupillo. “We’re proud to be part of the ongoing efforts there, and I hope it is healthier and more whole because of them.”