It sounds too good to be true: Free healthcare and prescription medications with no qualification process and no one turned away.

But that’s exactly what the nonprofit Mission of Mercy Arizona offers in Chandler, Mesa and four other mobile clinics in the Valley. Unlike other clinics that use a sliding fee scale, it removes all barriers to care by treating anyone who needs it.

“We never want patients to have to prove they can’t afford something,” said Paula Carvalho, Mission of Mercy Arizona’s executive director. “They don’t qualify by income; they don’t qualify by citizenship status.”

Mission of Mercy (MOM) was founded 26 years ago in Mesa and Phoenix and now has clinics in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas as well. It operates clinics either weekly or twice monthly at churches near transit lines to make for easier access. 

The Chandler clinic is open from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of the month at the First Church of the Nazarene, 301 N. Hartford St. near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard. 

Mesa operates from 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Thursday out of Christ the King Community Center, 1616 E. Broadway Road near Gilbert Road.

The Chandler clinic recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. In that time, it has served 430 patients at 4,070 visits. The Mesa clinic has served over 20,000 patients during more than 91,000 visits.

Although most patients are seen inside a church’s

gym or community room, a custom-outfitted RV is parked outside for private consultations and dispensing medications. 

MOM buys generic drugs in bulk and gets some new, sealed, unexpired medications donated via CenterWell Pharmacy, which is also a generous donor of funds.

Patients can also get free imaging and blood work through Sonora Quest Laboratories, without which MOM couldn’t operate. 

In addition to these partnerships, MOM operates entirely on private and corporate donations. It gets no government funding or grants and has a four-star rating on Charity Navigator, which rates nonprofit agencies.

Though MOM’s Chandler location accepts some walk-ins before 8 a.m., appointments are preferred. A bilingual appointment line is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays only at 480-758-8343.

Aligning with their mission to provide dignity, the clinic volunteers don’t make people fill out lengthy applications or make them wait for hours to be seen.

“We’re pretty much on time with visits,” Carvalho said. “Somebody’s going to be talking to them and moving them along. They won’t be left in the waiting area for long periods of time and wondering, ‘When will I be seen?’”

MOM patients don’t have time to sit around, either, because most of them work, Carvalho explained. 

Because of that, however, they often exceed the income to qualify for Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)—the state’s Medicaid program—but can’t afford insurance or medications. 

At the end of 2022, about 800,000 Arizonans had no health insurance, according to U.S. Census data. And potentially hundreds of thousands could become uninsured over the coming year if they don’t re-qualify for AHCCCS now that expanded pandemic coverage ended.

Patients who have found MOM often need care for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, gout or various stages of kidney failure, said Dr. Roselynde Bryant, MOM’s assistant medical director.

“They’re hurting,” Bryant said. “They say, ‘I’ve been taking Tylenol or taking home remedies.’” 

In fact, 91 percent of MOM’s patients have at least one chronic condition; 56 percent have Type 2 diabetes and 78 percent have hypertension. And 81 percent of them consider MOM their medical “home” in lieu of a primary care provider.

The clinics, however, provide more than just a quick diagnosis and pills. At a recent Chandler clinic, Catherine Mugo of Chandler sat with Certified Diabetes Educator Cecilia Chapman, who advised her not to use honey in her tea to help lower her sugar levels.

Mugo said at other places, the providers just gave her drugs but didn’t explain how to eat right.

“Since I started coming here my sugar level is going down and also my blood pressure is going down,” Mugo said, adding that the doctors and nurses are friendly and she looks forward to her visits.

Most of the healthcare providers at MOM are volunteers who have retired from private clinics where they have to deal with insurance and time constraints.

 Here, they can give in-depth, holistic care, teaching them about portion size, nutrition, exercise and other aspects of preventative medicine. 

Providers often take time to connect patients with non-health services, too. 

Carvalho said frequently, patients will tell the language interpreters about their utilities being shut off or their need for food or housing assistance, and volunteers point them to other resources.

Mary Miller, a volunteer registered nurse at the Chandler clinic, said one patient with diabetes and high blood pressure was stressed from taking care of her mother, so they helped her find respite services.

“Our patients become family to us so each time that we see them it’s like seeing a friend,” Miller said. “And then you get to know what’s going on in their life as well as what’s going on with them in terms of their health.” 

The patients show gratitude by giving what they can afford in a “dignity donation box,” Carvalho said, but they’re never asked nor expected to pay.

 Sometimes, they display appreciation in other ways, such as making tamales for the volunteers during the holidays.

Carvalho added, “There’s a gratefulness that comes through not only with every patient interaction but the volunteers who serve here. They feel blessed to be a part of this mission and the work that we do.”

She also noted that the Chandler clinic is seeking more volunteers, including bilingual interpreters, medical professionals and an RV driver. And they’re hoping to see more patients.

“Our mission is to restore dignity and provide healing through love,” Carvalho said. “Our vehicle is medicine but our product is love.”

Visit momaz.org/arizona for a schedule of all of the clinics Valleywide and more information.  

Chandler since inception (2018)

Total patients: 430

Total visits: 4,070

Total prescriptions: 8,400

2022-23 fiscal year:

Total patients: 136

Total visits: 956

Total Rx: 1,663

60% women; 40% men

Mesa since inception


Total patients: 20,528

Total visits: 91,372

Total Rx: 62,102

 2022-23 fiscal year:

Total patients: 387

Total visits: 2,125

Total prescriptions: 7,845

63% women; 37% men

Getting help

Mission of Mercy, Chandler

Address: First Church of the Nazarene,

301 N. Hartford St.

Hours: 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. first and third Fridays

Contact:  480-758-8343 from

9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays (bilingual);



Mission of Mercy, Mesa

Address: Christ the King Community Center, 1616 E. Broadway Road

Hours: 6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Contact: 602-486-7798 from 1-6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays (bilingual);



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