Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church celebrated its 16th Annual Health Expo last Saturday morning with an array of vendors, programs, food, health service providers, children games, and plenty of fun for the children and families. The program began at 9:00 am and lasted until 1:00 pm at its 201 West Leonard Street location. With the first health expo began in 1999, the 16th anniversary represented an evolving commitment of the church to keep health as a major priority in the community.
The strong focus on health needs was demonstrated by the more than 30 vendors and health care agencies represented offering goods and services to the attendees. The event which is chaired by Carolyn Martin RN, of the Health Care Ministry at the church, generated a participation of over 250 persons counting community residents, vendors, and agency representatives. Martin assembled over thirty volunteers and a marketing team to assist with the expo. Pastor Bernard Yates and Lady Vonda Yates spoke with the attendees and visited the vendors throughout the day.
Zion Hope is accompanied by Deliverance Tabernacle Christian Center, Damascus Road Missionary Baptist Church, Life Changing Experience Worship Center and several other African-American Churches that provide health fairs and expos with free health screenings, medical care presentations, and donations of blood. There were thirty-three screenings for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and anemia during the Healthy Heart Screening by the Sacred Heart Mission in Motion group. There were 30 eye exams by an ophthalmologist and 10 confidential HIV screenings by the AIDS Foundation. Linda Pleasant, dressed like a sheriff from the Wild West, identified herself as the “Blood Ranger” and rounded up 12 reluctant donors to give blood on the new Northwest Florida Blood Center Mobile Unit.
Humana Inc., Sacred Heart Health System and Florida Blue/BCBS of Florida were present for people who wanted to know additional information about changes in medical coverage. Medical personnel present were Dr. Michelle Grier-Hall, MD, a pediatrician, Dr. Sunil Gupta, an ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles McGraft, a chiropractor, and Dr. Rodney Guttmann from the University of West Florida Center on Aging who held a workshop on the disease of Alzheimers.