GOSHEN — Nearly 400 volunteers served more than 1,100 people Saturday, July 13, at Brenneman Memorial Missionary Church’s second annual “Back-2-School Event” north of the city.
In addition to school supplies, shoes, food, hair cuts and fun for elementary-age children, there was a health fair with 11 health screenings for people of all ages.
“I think it’s something nice for the kids and the adults,” said Geneva Avila as she came through line helping a child get a bag filled with school supplies.
Liliann Quintero, who headed up the health fair, said, “We are so glad we’re working in conjunction with Brenneman. It’s like a family day.”
Quintero, executive director of the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, said the health fair alone had 175 volunteers, including 40 nursing students from area schools. “We did 400 lipid panels in one hour,” she said, and they were working to not only catch health problems for people but to “promote the importance of prevention.”
Nancy Rodriguez-Lara, a local therapist providing depression screening, said joining the health fair with the school event “all works together. It feels very welcoming and that gives a good message, being one community and not a divided community.”
Dr. James Myers, who provided vision screenings nearby, said, “It certainly provides a very unique service to the community.”
Adding that health service was something Kelli Armentrout, Brenneman’s worship leader and coordinator of the event, hoped to add last year. The health coalition was a smaller part of last year’s inaugural event, Armentrout said, and they got a grant to put on their 10th health fair during Brenneman’s event. “It just provides a whole other aspect of what we think we can do for the community,” Armentrout said.
The church provided 1,000 school bags loaded with supplies, and it also bought 530 pairs of shoes from Samaritan’s Feet, a shoe charity that aims to provide 1 million pairs of shoes this year. “We’re glad to do our small part of that,” Armentrout said. “The shoes are probably half of our budget. The shoes are still very, very popular. People need them,” she said.
A couple hundred volunteers helped outside the health fair, she said. “The whole church, all the staff, everybody gets involved. It’s very gratifying to see people really put their heart and soul into something like this.”
She said the church is already making plans for next year. “It’s what we do. It’s what we’re called to do,” she said.