On Saturday, April 6, 2019, the Pediatric Health Center and the Joanne Watford Nutrition Center at Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) hosted its second Wellness Fair where families learned about healthcare, nutrition, receive free health screenings, free eye exams, and went home with free groceries.
The main lobby at NAM was full of activity and energy with its community partners, volunteers, and NAM staff all who assisted families and individuals throughout the day during the event. Bags of fresh fruit and vegetables were given to 260 family members. In addition, the Christus Mobile Unit, which was on-site in NAM’s parking lot, provided health screenings, and people received eye exams from Prevent Blindness Texas. There was even a visit from the Easter Bunny who handed out healthy snacks and posed for photos with the kids.
“This is a great way for people to get connected with community resources and nourish their mind, body, and soul,” said Karen Luther, Director of NAM’s Pediatric Health Center. “I am grateful to the volunteers and community partners for making NAM’s Wellness Fair fun and engaging.”
Everyone who walked in was given a “Wellness Fair Passport” which helped them keep track of which booths they visited. The community partners in attendance included Walgreens, Copeland Insurance Group, 24 Hour Fitness, LifeLine, HEB, Avenue 360, Spring ISD Smart Start Program, Lone Star Legal Aid, United Healthcare, United Credit Education Services, Sea Smile Dental, Community Health Choice, Physicians & Health Science Center, Caption Call, WIC Program, Pima Medical Institute – Dental Hygiene Department, as well as NAM’s programs and services. Once the guests stopped by all of the booths, volunteers helped them carry a shopping basket full of nutritious food, provided by the Houston Food Bank, out to their cars.
The Joanne Watford Nutrition Center (JWNC) is a choice food pantry that operates like a grocery store. Clients choose their own food from designated categories, including fresh produce, meat, dairy and frozen items. During fiscal year 2017-2018, the JWNC provided food for 10,615 individuals. As part of the Senior Food Program, 125 low income seniors received monthly supplemental groceries. In 2017 almost 900 families received Thanksgiving meals and food for a week and in December almost 1,000 families received the same for the holidays.
The Pediatric Health Center is a unique partnership between NAM and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). While bringing excellent care to its patients, the clinic also serves as a training facility for UTHealth Science Center students as well as other local universities and community colleges.
Northwest Assistance Ministries is a non-profit, community-based social service agency that strives to meet basic human needs through Neighbors Helping Neighbors. NAM provides assistance in areas such as food, shelter, health, education and domestic violence awareness and intervention. During its last fiscal year, NAM touched the lives of more than 130,000 people through its many programs and services.