The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) joined over 55 other vendors, health and information providers at the largest and most well-attended of the 5 community health fairs provided by Neighborhood Centers, Inc. at the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center in the Gulfton/Sharpstown area of southwest Houston on Saturday, August 30. More than 2500 participants lined up beginning at 6 am for the free family event which included health screenings, nutrition information, entertainment on stage, and immunizations for back-to-school.
The Mormon Church booth fit right in with the family theme, providing family preparedness information and offering one of the few places for children to relax and learn while playing games and coloring. Families were eager to receive the materials, which were written in both English and Spanish.
“Our vision,” said Frida Villalobos, Manager of Communications of Neighborhood Centers, Inc., “is connecting the community to health care resources in the community and guiding families to healthy lifestyles.”
“We were pleased to have great partners such as your church,” Villalobos continued. “Definitely, by walking around seeing the families get information, seeing how excited they were to get groceries and school supplies, our goal was met.”
Cheryl Driggs and Amy Hogan, from the Mormon Church’s Houston Public Affairs Multi-Stake Council facilitated the booth, noting that many of the families were Spanish-speaking. “It was interesting to see all the non-profit and government organizations gathered to help other people’s lives and make a difference,” Hogan said. “We were so glad to join with others who want to bless and serve the community,” she added.
Participants received a passport that they had signed by the organizations as they visited health screenings, dental and medical booths, food demonstrations, and booths about community resources. When a family completed the passport, they were able to exchange it for school supplies and groceries. Walmart and Univision were among the sponsors, with many agencies providing giveaways.
According to their website, Neighborhood Centers Inc. is the largest charitable organization in Texas, with a network of over 70 service sites serving over 528,000 each year. “Our health and wellness programs helped us connect 70,000 people last year to local health services in Houston’s most underserved communities,” Claudia Vasquez, Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Neighborhood Centers, Inc. The organization’s mission includes helping residents in neighborhoods discover the strengths and skills necessary to become productive, prosperous and self-sufficient.
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Photo credits – Jennifer Martino