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Family Health Fair teaches families about health and safety

Community members were given a passport to wellness at the 9th annual Pearl River County School District Family Health Fair, held in the Pear River County High School cafeteria Tuesday evening.

The fair featured booths from area health care providers, local businesses and school departments. Attendees were able to sample recent additions to the school lunch offerings such as barbecue chicken, corn salad made with low fat mayonnaise and tomato, and tuna salad created with a mixture of low fat mayonnaise and ranch dressing, said Sheila Amacker, co-wellness coordinator.

After eating, kids could parch their thirst with samples from Smoothie King. Then, they were able to work off the extra energy by competing in a potato sack race or riding one of the Skate Station ponies. Parents were offered an up close look at student life with a school bus tour.

With approximately 140 attendees, turnout for the fair was lower than last year, but still on average for past health fairs, Amacker said. Twenty-seven vendors participated in the event, said wellness co-coordinator Kimberly Alford, which was more than the fair has had before.

Alford said anytime they offer a community event focused on families and health, any turnout is positive.

Magnolia Health offered informational books for kids on diabetes, while Nurse Practitioner Allyson Penton got the word out about the many services at the Hattiesburg Family Health Clinic. Many people may not realize the clinic also provides preventative care, Penton said.

New additions to this year’s fair included a booth on construction safety manned by Warren Bowen, owner of Triage Facility Consultants.

Bowen said any active construction during a school year is a challenge. He explained the importance of hard hats and gloves to students, and taught them the meaning of different flags on a construction site.

The fair even included a booth for spiritual wellness, manned by Christopher Stockstill from the Life Church.

“I think spiritual wellness is the ground for overall wellness,” he said.

Susan Rodriguez brought her two kids to the wellness fair. She said she especially liked the anti-smoking table staffed by school nurses.

“It’s nice to have a line smoker’s can call without harassment,” Rodriguez said.

Her kids loved the pony ride, she said.