Health fair brings healthcare services closer to Hidalgo County communities

For many Hidalgo County residents, access to health care is often out of reach, but on Friday those services came to them in Edinburg with another planned for Saturday.

Close to 80 people went to the health fair hosted at ARISE Adelante’s community center nestled in a neighborhood in east Edinburg.

Amparo Miranda and her 2-year-old grandson, Andy Treviño, live nearby and were invited to the event hosted by ARISE Adelante and seven other organizations.

“You find out a lot of things about yourself,” Miranda said. Miranda didn’t realize her health was in jeopardy. “I had high blood sugar from diabetes, and I didn’t even know. I also had my cholesterol real high. But thank God and the women from ARISE, I was able to find out.”

Miranda is one of many families who benefit from events like these designed to reach out to members of the community who may not live near clinics or may not be aware of services.

Attendees Friday were registered and received a ticket as they made their way around the various booths and services where they offered COVID-19 tests and vaccines, diabetes prevention education, vital checks for their blood pressure, weight and blood sugar. Doctors were also present to provide medical assistance.

Volunteers applied some creativity to their education. In one room, bottles of popular sugary drinks hung from a string with a plastic bag holding the amount of sugar each one of them contained.

On a table nearby, children were encouraged to draw the proportions of a balanced meal. Plastic toy food like fries, eggs, tuna, steak, tomatoes and apples were laid out to teach them to identify fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins.

Local clinics El Milagro, Access Esperanza, Westbrook, Nuestra Clinica del Valle and the Hidalgo County health department provided the information and healthcare services, along with El Sendero Church, Proyecto Azteca, ARISE Adelante and the Apostolic Christian HarvestCall.

“It’s just been good to see all these resources together. And people have really spent time asking questions to all the organizations,” Cheryl Herrmann, a volunteer and team leader with the Apostolic Christian HarvestCall organization, said.

Herrmann is a nurse who has led dental, medical and healthcare teams for 30 years to provide services in places like Mexico, but this is the first time they were invited to the Valley by El Milagro Clinic.

Friday’s health clinic was one of three held this week. It proved helpful to many who had little to no access to health care.

“One lady told us she could afford her medicine but not the doctor. So, we were able to connect her with a clinic,” Herrmann said. “We had a family that came in with three or four children and they didn’t have a primary care doctor.”

Families left with free first aid kits, school kits, comforters and toys. The church also offered biblical lessons and bibles to anyone interested.

Proyecto Azteca, the organization which put together the event, will be hosting another health fair on Saturday. The public is invited to attend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2710 Pachuca St. in Donna. The place is located in Colonia La Frontera #4.