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Family Resource Center hosts first Healthcare Fun Fair

Family Resource Center held its first Healthcare Fun Fair at North Oxford Baptist Church on Tuesday.

Nearly 400 children and their parents attended the event, which was a partnership with Magnolia Health, the Mississippi State Extension Office and the state Department of Health. Attendees were able to participate in a variety of activities, ranging from arts and crafts to Zumba for kids.

With a parental waiver, qualifying children were also eligible to receive free health screenings in order to stay on Medicaid health insurance.

Ashley Pfahler, who works with Family Resource Center, said the main goal for the event was to show families the variety of resources available in the LOU community.

“There are so many community partnerships we deal with that people don’t realize are there for them,” Pfahler said. “That’s why we wanted to get them to this event, so that families can be aware of what they have in Oxford.”

Community groups and local businesses, ranging from the United Way and Communicare to Smoothie King and Honeybaked Ham, joined the effort to keep the day both fun and informative.

Lacy Dodd, a Prevention Specialist with Communicare, said attending events like the Healthcare Fun Fair helps spread the message that it’s never too early for drug prevention.

“We wanted to get our resources out into the community, about substance abuse services and the other things we offer,” Dodd said. “We came with the prevention department, and have lots of great resources on how to keep your child drug-free, how to help them say no to drugs.”

Jackson-based Choices for Children mobile medical clinic was on-hand as well, providing free healthcare screenings to children with parental consent. Choices For Children provides services to all 82 counties in Mississippi.

Dr. Samuel Jones and Nurse Practitioner Tabitha Allen said helping children start the school year with a clean bill of health was something in which they take pride.

“Medicine was founded on the principles of altruism, and certainly, if we want better communities, health is a part of that,” Jones said. “No effort is too much for our young people.”

In addition to children and their parents, several local daycare groups and members of the Boys and Girls Club also joined in the festivities. 65 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated by Magnolia Health, and even more school supplies were available once the backpacks ran out.

Jan Bryan, who serves 23 counties in North Mississippi in her work at Magnolia Health, said she couldn’t have pictured a better turnout for the event.

It’s been crazy good here today,” Bryan said. “Family Resource Center put this whole thing together, and they’ve done an awesome job.”