Vendors Make 2nd Annual Health Fair a Success!
Three-year-old Dee ran across the grass to the face painting station. “I want a butterfly,” she yelled. Her mom, Ebony, sat at one of the picnic tables, her feet surrounded by paper shopping bags filled to the brim with items she’d found at a variety of vendors at Playtime’s recent 2nd Annual Health Fair for families living at D.C. General Emergency Family Shelter.
The event was held in the courtyard of Anne Archbold Hall, once a nurses’ residence located behind the shelter, and featured food, music, face-painting and more than a dozen vendors. Organized primarily by Playtime’s dedicated volunteers and sponsored in part by Kaiser Permanente, the Health Fair connects families with resources they may not otherwise have access to.
“I got everything I needed,” Ebony said. “My daughter is having fun, and they had good educational items. They had more books than you need.”
Krista agreed. “It was very beneficial. I got a lot of things I’ve been needing.” In particular, she was able to get clothes for her 3-year-old daughter, whose cheeks were covered with painted flowers.
Upon arrival, more than 100 families received a “passport” they took to each vendor for a stamp, and once they visited at least eight booths, the passport was entered into a raffle for a prize, which included a double stroller, scooters, diaper bags, and gift cards. Everything was provided to families free of charge.
Vendors included Duende District Bookstore, which had a wide array of multicultural books by authors of color; First Baptist Church of Glenarden Domestic Missions Ministry, which offered a large selection of clothing for adults and children; and Early Stages, which identifies and recommends services for children with special needs. Even two officers from the Metropolitan Police Department helped by cooking hot dogs and burgers! (See a complete list of vendors below.)
“This health fair was a great way to engage with the community in a meaningful and fun way,” said Pennie Theodorou, who attended the fair as a vendor representing Children’s National Health System, but who also volunteers at the Quality Inn motel shelter. “I’m thankful for my job which enables me to address early childhood mental health and toxic stress in a professional setting, and for Playtime for allowing me to directly interact with children and families in a play setting.”
Ebony kept an eye on her daughter who joined several other children now dancing to music blasting across the courtyard. “Playtime has always been good to me,” she said. “They look out for our kids and I appreciate that.”
Thank you to all our vendors for their invaluable participation in making the Health Fair a success:
Bras for Girls by Oiselle
Children’s National Health System
Community of Hope
DC Diaper Bank
DC Health Link
DC Public Library
DC School Reform Now
Duende District Bookstore
First Baptist Church of Glenarden Domestic Missions Ministry
Legal Aid Society of D.C.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic
Metropolitan Police Department
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless