Churches are most well-known for the spiritual solace and education they provide, but at Our Savior Lutheran Church Sept. 19, it was all about healthy bodies.
The Temple Hills congregation hosted its first helath fair featuring free dental screenings for children courtesy of the Colgate Dental Van, flu shots, coupons and giveaways for free vision screenings, African dance and drumming sessions, booths with nutrition and community service information, and blood pressure screenings for adults.
“The importance of blood pressure readings is to determine where your blood pressure is at that point,” said Doris Loughlin of Temple Hills, a retired registered nurse. “If it’s high, then you’re subject to a lot of physical damage or subject to stroke or to death.”
For people dealing with physical damage from domestic violence or sexual abuse, a representative from the Prince George’s Hospital Center was on hand to provide information on local services.
“We are very happy to be here today from the domestic violence and sexual assault [division at] Prince George’s Hospital [Center],” said Cheryl Banks, a community educator and volunteer coordinator with Dimensions Healthcare System based in Cheverly. “We’re trying to get the word out to the community for services of victims and survivors of sexual domestic violence. We want them to know that we are a full-service hospital at Prince George’s Hospital Center and that our services are free.”
Banks said the hospital center also provides forensic medical exams and counseling services to better serve people affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
“We’ve been housed in Prince George’s Hospital for over 40 years now, providing comprehensive care to victims and survivors,” Banks said. “We encourage people to come and to know that we’re there.”
Residents who attended the health fair also were encouraged to take advantage of child care services.
“We’re reaching out in the community where we are neighbors with the church,” said Jaime Lawson of Lothian, a program director at the Smiling Faces Learning Center in Temple Hills. “We just want to reach out to the parents and let them know that we’re here for great quality care [and] a great learning program. That’s why we’re participating.”
Linda Brooks, manager of the Learning Center for 29 years, said working with children is not just a career but her passion as well.
“I’m a part of it because I’ve been in child care for 45 years,” Brooks said. “Children are my first love and I plan to be with them until I can no longer work. I have managed eight of the quality child care centers. … I love what I do and I do what I love.”
Other information booths included services offered by the Maryland Woman Infants and Children Program, which helps families eat better to have a healthier future.
“The Maryland WIC program … [provides] extra food to help with healthy eating, breast-feeding help and referral for other services,” said WIC representative Tameria Bradley of Capitol Heights. “We are here today because we enjoy partnering with the community. We want to share our benefits with the community.”