This Saturday, the bi-annual Bridesburg Council of Churches Health Fair will provide residents with blood pressure tests, flu shots and free health screenings.
“The more informed you are, the better off you are,” explained Barbara Geiger, vice president of the Bridesburg Council of Churches, about the motivation behind planning the fair.
The fair will take place at the Bridesburg Recreation Center, 4601 Richmond St., and will include tables offering health screenings and services from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Craft and flea market tables will also be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Geiger said that eight to 10 medically trained staff from Mercy Health Services will be at the fair this year, answering questions and providing basic medical services free of charge. Rite Aid Pharmacy will also be sending medical staff to provide flu shots.
“Bridesburg is a great community and we just want to bring the community together,” Geiger said. “It’s not like there’s one issue that’s plaguing Bridesburg or anything. It’s just that maybe they just don’t take care of themselves as well as they would if they were better informed.”
This is the fourth time the council has organized the health fair in Bridesburg. It was first held eight years ago, Geiger said, and takes place every other year, alternating with the years when Bridesburg community pride week events are scheduled.
All proceeds will be donated to the food pantry at Bridesburg Methodist Church, which provides 10,000 pounds of food each week to over 200 local families. The church is located at 2717 Kirkbride St.
This is the first year that arts, crafts and flea market tables will also be featured at the fair.
Twenty-three local vendors, as well as some from Bucks County and Port Richmond, had been reserved as of Monday, said Carol Socki, a volunteer at the food pantry who is helping to organize the crafts tables and flea market.
Socki grew up in Bridesburg, and her parents lived in the neighborhood for 50 years. While she’s moved a little up north, she and her husband still return to Bridesburg regularly to volunteer at the food pantry and other charitable organizations.
About 20 to 25 new families sign up each week to get their groceries at the the food pantry, which opens its doors Tuesdays and Thursdays, she said, and the need is growing.
Giant Food supermarket donates food twice a week, but the food pantry’s rising costs include buying food from hunger relief organization Philabundance which the pantry can give away. That’s why it needs donated food or money to stay up and running, Socki said.
On Saturday, a kitchen will be serving up food, musicians will perform, and there are rumors that one of the Camden Riversharks’ mascots will show up.
“It’s better for the community when neighbors can get together to do things and greet other people,” Geiger said. “Everyone is in their own little houses, and if you can bring people together to mingle, it draws things together.”
Reporter Sam Newhouse can be reached at email@example.com.