GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -
For the 11th year in a row, the Gainesville Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted their Health Fair providing free entertainment, food, and healthcare to the community.
Sponsors and vendors for the event ranged from chain grocers like Trader Joe's to local favorites such as Ward’s Supermarket and La Tienda Authentic Food & Market.
While free lunch is always a plus, the 11th Annual Health Fair provided more than just some good grub; health professionals from UF Health and Lifesouth Community Blood Centers provided free check-ups, tests, and information to those who came to the event.
Isabel Torres, the communications director for the event, says that while there are those in the community that have health insurance and can afford to see their local doctors there is still a significant portion of individuals who can’t.
"We've noticed that there's a big disparity here in Gainesville," Torres explained. "We do have a big community that do have health insurance and are able to go to their doctors whenever they feel sick or whenever they feel like they have to go. But there is also a population that doesn't have access to that and every year that we have done the Health Fair, they have benefitted from that."
Through the Health Fair, the church is not only making a significant impact on people’s lives but even saving them.
"We even had, one year, a person who came to the fair and they found a lump in her breast and they discovered breast cancer," Torres told TV20. "And it was early enough that they caught it, and she was able to get treated. Otherwise, she probably would have had a different outcome."
Information and classes on topics such as nutrition and exercise were also featured at the fair, with free flu shots also available for attendees.
The Gainesville Police Department also stopped by the fair to show their support for the community.