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July 22, 2013

Healing Hands: Eastside Christian Church’s health fair serves 700

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Just two weeks before the school year begins, Janice Bishop said she faced some issues getting required, routine preparations for her children.

Clothing, shoes, checkups at the doctor’s office and backpacks all add up, and time was running out.

“I make enough to pay the bills, but I don’t make enough to pay the $40 copay to get physicals for my kids,” Bishop, 29 of Jeffersonville, said. “Even though I have health insurance, all that’s not enough to do the job.”

But on Saturday, Eastside Christian Church’s second annual Community Health, Education and Safety Fair helped her get everything on her list without any cost to her.

Community members were able to get basic medical checkups, eye and dental examinations. Students could pick up a free backpack; families could get haircuts and sit down for a family portrait.

Bishop said even though government and other programs are available for those in need of them, it’s often difficult to qualify for them even if a family is struggling.

“A lot of places should do more of this just because so many people who don’t qualify for a lot of the help that’s available,” Bishop said.

David Parkerson, health and wellness coordinator for the church, said families didn’t have to worry about prerequisites for any of the services available at the fair.

If they needed to see a nurse practitioner, doctor, dentist or optometrist, all they had to do was get in line.

“I’m not about paperwork and some people have enough times where they have to verify their information,” Parkerson said. “There might be some instances where that’s taken advantage of, but that’s on them. We just want to provide that help.”

He said at last year’s inaugural event, about 180 people came in for checkups and other services. This year, between medical visits and backpacks, they served about 700 people.

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Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services is pictured on Friday afternoon in New Albany. Floyd County is considering the idea of selling the hospital to help relieve some financial pressure.

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