Free medical clinic attracts thousands to annual event in downtown Los Angeles

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Hundreds of medical professionals are volunteering their time this weekend at an annual free clinic in downtown Los Angeles.

At the bustling REEF event center on Friday, UCLA health volunteers were among those who spent hours helping people in need. After taking a number and waiting in line, patients received care at no cost.

"We're seeing about a thousand patients a day. We're giving them dental, vision and medical care," said Donald Manelli, CEO of Care Harbor, the non-profit that organized the clinic. "I volunteered at a couple of clinics and thought it could be done a lot better."

Some patients were returning from years past. Others were attending for the first time.

Jeffrey Myers, a homeless Army veteran from Los Angeles, said he was recently struck by a car and suffered major injuries.

"I'm going to try to have some work done on my mouth. I had my jaw broken and lost all of my teeth," he said in an interview, adding that he also suffers from "a hip and back problem - that's why I have the cane, to help me walk."

He said his religious faith was helping him recover from the car crash and maintain his optimism.

"I live on the streets, but I'm not homeless because my heavenly father - the sweet Lord and savior above - has a home for me," he said.

"I think this clinic is a blessing," he said.

Manelli, the CEO, said donations were essential to the three-day event which began Friday and will be continue on Saturday and Sunday.

Each patient must have a wristband, which were distributed on Nov. 11 and 12, to attend the clinic.
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