Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Petal First Baptist Church officials from presenting all the usual offerings at last year’s Petal Family Health & Resource Fair, the event is in full swing this year with a range collection of free school uniforms and Petal School District family health screenings.
This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 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 people, to encourage people and give them some hope, and to try to help serve our community in a way that would benefit their families.” said Brad Eubank, the church’s senior pastor. “There are a lot of people in their community – they care about their kids – and we love partnering 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, underwear, new shoes and backpacks. Health officials will perform vision, speech and hearing screenings, and haircuts and manicures will be available.
In addition, staff will distribute information on several community organizations and their services.
The offerings are available to all Petal School District students and families, and masks will not be required.
“We’re just thrilled (to be back fully post-COVID),” Eubank said. “We were sick and sad that we couldn’t do the screenings that are so vital and important, and put them in front of providers who could offer them services that they need to be aware of and that could help them.
“It was very disappointing, so we are delighted to be able to offer the full health and resource fair. There is so much more than the resources we want to expose them to – while these are important, they are not the only important things.
Families will be required to provide proof of residency on the day of the Health and Resource Fair. Although walk-in visits are accepted at the fair, families are encouraged to pre-register by visitingwww.firstbridgepetal.org and clicking on the “Events” link. Participants can also call the church office at (601) 545-3198.
Volunteers are also needed for the fair in the areas of hostesses, registrations, runners, guides, uniforms, hairdressers, manicurists, hall monitors, cashier and translators. Anyone interested in volunteering can also register on the same “Events” link on the website and scroll down to the volunteering section.
“Based on what we have already recorded, we expect record crowds,” Eubank said. “We treated up to 350 to 400 children in a regular year.”