Nearly 100 people in the Tidewater (Va.) area received free dental checkups, hygiene and oral cancer screenings at a health fair planned by local churches last fall. “We were very excited to be able to offer to this to our community,” said Dr. Elias Llerandi, member of the Peninsula Spanish church (Newport, Va.) who helped plan the event and participating dentist. “It’s rare to get dental screenings at a health fair. We were also blessed with the ability to provide follow-up referrals to multilingual/cultural sensitive community-based clinics at low, or no cost.”
In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Celebration and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the health fair offered nutrition and cooking workshops, a food bank, massage and various health screenings presented by healthcare professionals and corporate partners. Attendees also had the chance to donate blood through the American Red Cross and veterans had the opportunity to receive guidance on benefits available to them.
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“We welcomed nearly 300 guests from Virginia and North Carolina, including several local government officials, service providers and community volunteers, most of which hadn’t heard of a Seventh-day Adventist Christian before, and who are excited to partner with us this year for our second health fair event,” said Hector Caban, pastor of Chesapeake, Peninsula and Virginia Beach Spanish churches (Va.) and who challenged his members to plan the health fair. “We are blessed with an abundance of resources and it is our spiritual and social duty to comply with this calling and share our blessings—as it says in Proverbs 3:27, ‘…do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.’”
Llerandi says the fair was a blessing, but so were the days leading up to it. “For days prior to the event, the weather was terrible. Rainy and stormy. The forecast didn’t look good for the day of either, but God blessed us by parting the clouds and giving us a lovely day to reach our community.” This year, churches under the leadership of pastors Willy Boyd, Cornel Stoien, Paolo Esposito and lay leader Michael Monroig, have joined the initiative, allowing for an even broader reach.
The Tidewater Adventist Community Health Fair will be held on September 16 and hosted at the Tidewater Adventist Academy in Chesapeake. In addition to services offered last year, this year will also include mammograms, mental health workshops, an international food fair, 5k walk and family-oriented activities. “We pray to see you there,” says Llerandi. “If you cannot make it, keep us in your prayers!”