Agape to host health initiative

Published 1:22 am Friday, October 10, 2014

Agape Community Economic Development Inc. plans to make its surrounding community a healthier one next week with its annual health fair and walk-a-thon.

Held at Beloved Apostolic Church, the event will begin at 9 a.m. with a 1-mile walk-a-thon and continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the group’s health fair.

Free healthy food, free health screenings, prizes and more will be available as a part of Beloved Apostolic Church Pastor Johnny Cunningham’s vision.

“We’re helping somebody, and that’s what it’s all about,” event coordinator Mary Watson said.

As of Tuesday, 25 exhibitors are set to join the festivities, including the Dallas County Health Center, Wallace Community College Selma, Sarrell Dental and more.

The first 25 people to sign up for free HIV testing, which will be provided by vendor and nonprofit organization Selma AIDS Information and Referral, will receive a free bag of food. Health care professionals will be present to test blood glucose level and pressure, give STD testing and check height and weight for free. First responders are also scheduled to attend.

With Dallas County being a low-income area, office manager and treasurer Doris Polnitz said Agape enjoys making health care services and information more accessible in the area.

“A lot of time people are by themselves and don’t have anyone to assist them with going to the doctor,” Polnitz said. “With something like this, people feel free to just walk up and get their pressure checked.”

Polnitz and Watson even recalled a time when the blood pressure health screening prevented what could have been a life-threatening situation for one local male. Last year, physicians advised a man to visit the emergency room or doctor as soon as possible, after noticing that his blood pressure was too high.

“If that young man hadn’t been here to have his blood pressure checked, God only knows what have happened to him,” Watson said.

“Things like that really makes us feel good, because it’s like we’re doing something good.”

With the event growing each year, Watson said Agape expects to see more than 100 attendees this year.

“We’re really excited about it. It’s a lot of hard work, but the results are phenomenal,” Watson said.