With the rising costs of health care, many people without health insurance opt to forgo basic checkups in the hope that they simply won’t get sick. The same goes for many of our nation’s homeless people to an even greater extent. But that need not be the case when a community works together. For the past several years, doctors and medical students from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield have offered a free community health clinic for the homeless and uninsured, offering basic health screenings, immunizations, over-the-counter medicines and hygiene products at no charge. Physicians check for problems with vision, cholesterol, oral cancer, blood pressure and more. Meanwhile, more in-depth lab work is handled by St. John’s Hospital, and medication assistance is available through Kumler Outreach Ministries and Complete Care Pharmacy. Partnering with SUI are several other Springfield organizations, including Memorial Medical Center, Salvation Army, Helping Hands, the Illinois and Sangamon County Departments of Public Health, Springfield Overflow Shelter, Fifth Street Renaissance and more. Rides are even available, thanks to Homeless United for Change. The next free clinic event starts at 5 p.m. on March 19 at Kumler United Methodist Church, 600 N. Fifth St.