New Community and Rutgers Community Health Center (RCHC) teamed up to host the inaugural Community Health and Wellness Fair on Oct. 23 in the parking lot of the New Community Health Care Complex, 274 South Orange Ave., Newark. Around 125 people attended the event, which featured a variety of offerings, including health screenings, COVID vaccinations, health insurance information and fun family activities.
“I think the Health Fair attendees had a chance to not only enjoy themselves for the day but to really see some of the health and housing related resources that are available to them right here on this campus,” said New Community Chief Operating Officer Fred Hunter.
As the main partners for the event, New Community and RCHC had several tables highlighting many of their programs and services. Staff and representatives from Family Service Bureau, Harmony House, Extended Care Facility and Property Management/Resident Services were on site to link people to their offerings. RCHC staff and clinical providers were on hand to offer blood pressure screenings and vaccination information.
The Essex County Department of Health was present with its COVID Vaccination Unit and community members were able to get both vaccinations and COVID-19 testing.
“We were able to offer all three vaccine types (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) for first and second doses, as well as booster shots. Providing a choice of vaccine to our community is enormous in addressing vaccine hesitancy as we work towards increasing the number of community members who are immunized,” said New Community Director of Health and Human Services Denise Anderson. “Our community members are the most affected but the least protected against COVID-19. We are doing our part to support changing this and other health inequities.”
In addition to health-related activities, the fair also provided community-centered offerings, including face painting for kids, music and food. Attendees were also able to win one of 18 baskets through a raffle. The donated baskets included games for kids, kitchen items and sports gear. Nearly 100 bags of food were distributed to families in need.
“This health fair had many behind-the-scenes volunteers which allowed us to secure donations for food, gift bags, food pantry groceries, a DJ and fun activities for the kids,” Hunter said.
Throughout the event, attendees were able to visit with various community organizations including The Leaguers, Helping House, FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development and Partnership for Maternal and Child Health. The League of Women Voters was also in attendance offering voting information about ballots and polling places.
“It was so fun to connect with many community partners and residents of our neighborhood in the sunshine,” said RCHC Executive Director Andrea Norberg. “In keeping with our belief that community is everything we are looking forward to holding this event annually and are already beginning to discuss a spring event.”
New Community and RCHC thank the steering committee for its leadership, Essex County for its COVID Unit, Aetna and Amerigroup which were supporters of the event and all community organizations that participated.
Photos by Tamara Fleming.