ELKHART — Hundreds packed St. Vincent de Paul Church for the eighth annual Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition Health Fair Saturday.
The Elkhart-based nonprofit organization had planned for 400 to 500 people to show up to the fair, which included stations checking kidneys, blood pressure, lipid panels, cholesterol, eyes, body mass index and for sickle cell anemia and HIV.
Nearly 800 people, however, entered the church from when the doors opened at 8 a.m. until they shut at 1 p.m., according to Liliana Quintero, executive director of the coalition. Quintero said that even after the doors closed for the day, the kidney station ran until about 3 p.m.
“It was wonderful,” she said. “We couldn’t ask for better.”
Dr. Enrique Infante, an OGBYN at Elkhart General Hospital who is also on the coalition board, was thankful that the event brought out such a large crowd and that so many received help. “What an amazing interest in the community,” he said. “People stood in line for hours. One lady got there at 6 a.m.”
About 140 bilingual volunteers were also on hand to not only perform health check-ups, but to educate participants. “We are responding to a huge need and that is prevention,” Quintero said. Quintero noted the difficulties of language barriers and lack of transportation often prevent many in the area from fully understanding their conditions and how to treat them.
She believed, however, many participants left with a greater understanding of how to take care of themselves and how to avoid certain ailments. The setting allowed many people access to information they would not otherwise have been able to access.
The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition recently expanded to include health fairs in Kosciusko and Noble counties this year. For more information on the group, visit nihhc.com.