We Care Health Fair Expands Outreach to the Community

Laticia Ramsey was at the We Care Fair to speak about the Department of Human Services' vocational rehabilitation prorgram.It started four years ago with just a few tents in front of the Queen Louise Home for the Aged, but the annual We Care Health Fair has become so popular, Human Services has had to relocate the event to a spot that could hold all of its interested clientele and presenters.

This year the fair was held Friday at the Lionel Roberts Stadium on St. Thomas, primarily serving the community’s elderly population and the uninsured, and offered everything from health screenings for blood sugar and cholesterol to HIV tests and workshops on eating healthy.

Queen Louise Home, under the Department of Human Services, partnered with other government agencies, which have up booths to give residents more information on broad range of community services and programs.

"It’s important for us to reach out to the community and provide these services, especially to our uninsured population," said Ernie Pennyfeather, director of residential services for the Queen Louise and Lucinda Millin homes for the aged. "We have seen people come here religiously, and because of that, we have seen an improvement in their health. Our nursing department at the Queen Louise Home keeps a track record of the people we’ve made referrals to, and we have seen them come make and progress.”

Pennyfeather said local pharmacies, including Drug Farm, Doctor’s Choice and Healthy Living, have stepped up and donated many of the resources for the testing, while Walgreens, for the first year, came out to talk to participants about their own programs.

V.I. Fire Services and Waste Management Authority were just a couple of theagencies taking part at this year's fair.“We like to support our community and any activities that promote healthy living,” Walgreens’ Danielle Schook said. “There are a lot of things we do, but we’re really talking to residents today about our efforts to start immunizations, so we want to get out as much information on that as possible.”

Chantel Harrigan from Choice Communications was also on hand during the fair to talk to participants about the company’s Lifeline program, which gives discounted cell phone service to those that can’t afford it. Federal funds subsidize the program, and Harrigan said anyone approved for a Lifeline phone pays $10 for the year and received 250 local phone minutes along with 500 texts.

“It really is an important event,” Pennyfeather said. “In addition, we also have our kitchen staff here, talking to everyone about eating healthy and how to prepare nutritious foods. So, overall, our goal is to teach people how to live longer, stronger and healthier lives.”

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