Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented officials from Petal First Baptist Church from presenting all the usual offerings at lat year’s Petal Family Health & Resource Fair, the event is back in full swing this year with a full slate of free school uniforms and health screenings for families in the Petal School District.
This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 26 at the church, 992 Mississippi 42 in Petal. The Health and Resource Fair, which is made possible through the church’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm, First Bridge, is the result of a partnership between Petal Excel by 5, The Coleman Center for Families and Children and the Petal School District.
“We just want to be able to help folks, to encourage folks and give them some hope, and try to help serve our community in a way that would be beneficial to their families,” said Brad Eubank, senior pastor at the church. “There are a lot of folks in their community - they care about their kiddos - and we love getting to partner with Excel by 5 and the Coleman Center and the school district to be able to have the opportunity to provide these services.”
During the fair, families will have access to Petal uniforms, undergarments, new shoes and backpacks. Health officials will conduct vision, speech and hearing screenings, and haircuts and manicures will be available.
In addition, staff will hand out information about multiple community organizations and their services.
The offerings are available to any student and family in the Petal School District, and masks will not be required.
“We’re just thrilled (to be back fully after COVID),” Eubank said. “We were sick and sad that we couldn’t do the screenings that are so vital and important, and get them in front of the vendors that could offer them some services that they need to be aware of and that could help them.
“That was very disappointing, so we’re super excited to be able to offer the full-blown Health and Resource Fair. There’s so much more than just the resources we want to expose them to - although those are important, they’re not the only thing that’s important.”
Families will need to provide proof of residency on the day of the Health and Resource Fair. Although walk-ins are accepted at the fair, families are encouraged to pre-register by visitingwww.firstbridgepetal.org and clicking on the “Events” link. Participants also can call the church office at (601) 545-3198.
Volunteers also are needed for the fair in the areas of greeters, registration, runners, guides, uniforms, hair stylists, manicures, room monitors, checkout and translators. Anyone interested in volunteering also can sign up at the same “Events” link on the website and scrolling down to the volunteering section.
“Based on what we’ve already got registered, we’re expecting a record crowd,” Eubank said. “We’ve done as many as 350 to 400 kids in a regular year.”