Monday, July 31, 2017

Summerton SC Health Fair: Community Strives for Better Health

Summerton, SC, was abuzz Saturday morning as approximately 150 local residents attended the Summerton Health Fair in the Clarendon One Community Resource Center on Fourth Street. More than 20 organizations participated in the event sponsored by the Lake Marion Artisans Art Gallery by providing free screenings, services and information to anyone interested in health and well being.

The brainchild of two gallery members, Nancy Foster and Marlise Guillerault, the Summerton Health Fair was a service that Summerton needed. Both organizers said they’d been wanting to coordinate a health fair for some time. Guillerault said it was relatively easy to procure support from the community for the event when she explained the reasons. 
Foster said, “We were overwhelmed by the people and organizations who called to participate or to donate.” Among the numerous financial supporters are First Citizens Bank in Summerton, Bank of Clarendon, Agape Hospice, Short Trip Convenience Stores, Goat Island Restaurant and so many others.

Various businesses, organizations and individuals not only provided financial support, they also provided support by setting up booths, providing literature and information, giving away promotional materials and screening local attendees for things like vision, diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol. Participants included Hope Health, the American Red Cross, Clarendon County Fire Department, Clarendon Women’s Shelter, Clemson Extension, McLeod Clarendon Hospital, Walmart Vision Center and Summerton Primary Care, Short Trip Convenience Stores - amongst nearly 20 others.

Kathleen Gibson, site coordinator for the Clarendon One Community Resource Center, was instrumental in procuring the facility and all sorts of additional assistance for the event. Gibson said, “People were extremely receptive and eager to participate.”

As attendees stood in lines to get screened or to garner information and products, Clarendon County Council Chairman Dwight Stewart looked about the venue and said that this event was extremely important for all the citizens of Summerton—especially because of the poverty in the area and the difficulty of transportation for some residents. Stewart said, “Two health issues that particularly affect this and other areas like Summerton are blood pressure and diabetes.” He said he was pleased to see free screenings provided at the health fair for those medical concerns.

Hope Health was a major player at Saturday’s event by providing free blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screenings. Diane Davis, Community Outreach Coordinator for Hope Health, said, “I’ve been doing this for over 4 years, and this is one of the busiest health fairs I’ve seen.” At that point in the morning, she said Hope Health had completed over 60 screenings.

Many people found the event convenient because of their busy lives and jobs and were able to attend because it was planned for a Saturday instead of a weekday. Susie Murry said she was pleased that she could get her blood pressure checked. Ella Johnson said, “I enjoyed the health fair, and the fire safety information was helpful.” Pleased that she could get cholesterol and diabetes screenings, Ann Robinson said, “I’m looking forward to next year’s event.”

After the screenings many attendees enjoyed the free snacks, fruit and bottled water available, thanks to the donations of supporters. St. Matthias Church even baked homemade muffins for the event. In addition to providing the venue, Clarendon District One Schools provided lunch from Subway for the organizations providing the free services for the health fair. 

Written and submitted by VickiWilkerson
Local Summerton-based author of The Summerbrook Series of Southern Novels.

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