When we began testing on May 5, 2020, we had one goal – to make sure that barriers to getting a
COVID test such as lack of insurance, low-income, and language ability were removed and that our
neighbors on the margins would have a welcoming place to receive the care they needed.
We were supported by a grant from the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, wisdom from the
Elkhart County Health Department, use of an RV from Aluminum Trailer Company and staff and
volunteers dedicated to seeing this through. We could not have launched this project without these
As the pandemic exploded over the following weeks, we recognized that this was no transient virus.
COVID was the unwanted visitor who was determined to overstay its welcome. We saw that barriers
to getting a test were not limited to those on the margins and that the virus was no respecter of
status, income, language, race, or privilege. In June 2020, we opened our testing site to anyone who
needed a test and before we knew it, we became the place to go for anyone who needed to be
In August of 2020, the Elkhart County Health Department approached CHH about becoming a state-
funded testing site. A grant from the Indiana Department of Health would help us to get timely results
of PCR tests, provide us with technology to help with registration and reporting, and supply all of the
PPE needed to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and patients.
On September 8, 2020, we began the day as a state-funded community-testing site and have been in
partnership with the IDOH and ECHD for nearly two years…until today.
Today marks the closing of our public testing site and our partnerships with a variety of organizations
who have rallied behind our efforts to provide a vital service and keep our community healthy. With
the decrease in demand at our site and the increase in availability of at-home tests, it is time for CHH
to pivot fully toward our core mission of providing affordable healthcare and advocacy services for
our uninsured and immigrant neighbors.
We are indebted to the following organizations for their support and dedication to community health
over the past 2 years:
To Plymouth United Church of Christ – for allowing CHH to take over the parking lot at 902 South
Main Street and accommodate the changes we needed to make to set up and run the first and third
iterations of the testing site. Your thoughtful consideration of our requests, prayerful support of our
task, and meaningful partnership with CHH over nearly 10 years was the foundation on which we built
To the City of Goshen & Goshen Parks & Recreation Department – for recognizing the importance of
continuing our mission when lines of cars spilled onto major thoroughfares by offering Shanklin Park,
Schrock Pavilion, and many support services for the second iteration of the testing site. Moving to the
park during the winter of 2020-2021 helped to provide a safe, warm, spacious, and secure place for
our staff, volunteers, and patients to give and receive testing services.
To Silverwood Mennonite Church – for opening your lobby, parking lot, and a classroom space in
December 2021 for the fourth and final iteration of the testing site, and for your financial support as a
congregation. The bright windows and sheltered testing space not only created logistical lines of sight
for the entire operation; it created spiritual lines of sight that allowed your congregation’s care for all
of God’s creation to shine through.
To the Elkhart County Health Department – for being a resource from the beginning with up-to-date
information and best practices, for recognizing the service we were providing to the community and
for trusting us to partner with you and the IDOH to provide testing to the whole community. We have
felt supported and valued throughout our partnership and want to continue collaborating on
community health into the future.
To all of our volunteers – who selflessly gave of their time and energy, exposed themselves to risk,
and endured bitter cold and sweltering heat. You are the reason we succeeded as a public service.
You created your own ecosystem of support for each other and the community. You truly are the
essential PPE – people practicing empathy.
As we close this chapter in our organizational journey, we will continue to work toward helping to
create a healthy and vibrant community by supporting those who lack access to healthcare and by
welcoming our immigrant neighbors. We experienced what it is like to work in partnership with
others and want to continue to strengthen our community relationships for the benefit of the
Center for Healing & Hope is a faith-based organization and as such, we will have a prayer of blessing
to bring our testing program to a close. After that, we will hear from the mayor and anyone else who
would like to share.