Answers Health addressing questions, needs of Keystone Heights women

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 6/19/19

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Split between locations in Keystone Heights and Starke, Answers Health and Resources Facility has made an imprint on the community, offering what few can.

The nonprofit …

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Answers Health addressing questions, needs of Keystone Heights women

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Split between locations in Keystone Heights and Starke, Answers Health and Resources Facility has made an imprint on the community, offering what few can.

The nonprofit provides advice for unplanned pregnancies and health issues. The organization made the push for more volunteers and donations Thursday at a volunteer luncheon.

Answers was founded by JoAnna Weldon as a faith-based organization eight years ago. She spoke of how it had grown.

“We would walk through that pregnancy decision, adoption decision or even if they chose the option of abortion, we were there in the aftermath of that,” Weldon said. Several years ago, we felt like God was calling us to be a little more open-minded as far as what the needs were in the community.”

The areas that Answers covers are deprived. Florida has the seventh-highest rate of pregnancy of unwed mothers in the state, Weldon said. She said staff at Answers realized they could do more.

“Answers really has become the health crisis center in our communities, between Keystone and Starke,” Weldon said. “It’s starting to spread to the other communities, which is incredible to see.”

Beyond pregnancies, Answers’ Director of Nursing Tiffiny Sanders relayed the story of a couple finding housing and medication with Answers’ assistance. Answers has about 18 volunteers, a “faithful base,” Sanders said. She told volunteers that Answers’ rent on its Keystone building was reduced from $700 to $1.

“Finances are always a challenge,” Sanders said. “It’s almost a $700 a month donation, because that’s something we’ve been paying for the last eight years.”

The organization also was in the process of acquiring an ultrasound machine for its Keystone Heights office with the help of 4US, a national medical equipment donation nonprofit, and the Knights of Columbus. The local Knights of Columbus chapter would put forward the first 25% of cost, 4US would give the next 25% and the national Knights of Columbus would cover the final 50%.

“If there are no hitches, we could have an ultrasound machine by the end of January,” Sanders said.

Answers was close to becoming state certified to provide HIV and STI testing at no cost.

Supplies and reporting would be handled by the state, Sanders added.

“If we were to go try to provide this testing on our own, it would cost about $150 per client,” she said. “This is a huge blessing.”

Sanders quoted state 2018 figures that Bradford County had the second-highest infant mortality rate, fifth-highest birth rates for mothers ages 15-17 and it was seventh-highest in child abuse rates. Clay County was eighth in adults reporting poor mental health days and 15th-highest in children ages one-to-five receiving mental health treatment.

“These are our clients,” Sanders said. “This is why we do what we do.”

Weldon said the two offices receive about six clients a week. Answers also hosts a B.E.A.T Club, which serves about 12% of Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High students. The organization needed volunteers for four-hour shifts in the morning and afternoon.

More information about donating or volunteering is available at findanswersnow.org. Answers can also receive donations through AmazonSmile or via the RoundUp app.

“We’re here to mediate, walk with them, get help and break generational trends,” Weldon said. “You never know what situation is going to walk through the door. And you never know why that person is in that situation.”

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