Several faith-based congregations and the Community Enrichment Fitness Network (CEFN) are joining forces to help Northwest Philadelphians with their health.
They will be hosting the 5th Annual Faith Community United for a Healthier Germantown Health Fair in Vernon Park, 5800 Germantown Ave. on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s theme is “Making Healthy Choices.”
The health fair will include 40 health care agencies on hand to disseminate information. There will also be food and exercise demonstrations, health screenings, holistic medicine information and even spiritual healing sessions. Additionally, there will be music, a Kid’s Zone, giveaways and vendors.
“We are attempting to increase awareness of total health-related issues to the 46,000 people who reside in the Germantown area,” said Sherry Hill, founder of CEFN. “That’s why we are providing health screenings, education and prevention by hosting this annual health fair.
“Currently, CEFN is developing a hands-on nutrition awareness and healthy cooking demonstration program, targeting the elderly and churches,” she added. “This program consists of offering nutrition awareness workshops and health cooking demonstrations to neighboring communities. This is some of what we will do at the Faith Community United for Healthier Germantown Health Fair.”
CEFN’s workshop has six fundamental goals, according to Hill. First, it teaches the community to make healthier food choices. Second, it assists families with planning and preparing healthy meals. Thirdly, it gives suggestions on how to shop for ingredients for the healthy meals.
In addition, CEFN gives an overview of how to read labels to assure that one’s family is making nutritious selections. Furthermore, the workshop shares information on ways that local residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables. Lastly, it offers suggestions on how families can heat and stretch leftover foods so that none of the healthy meals go to waste.
“CEFN will have its own television chefs and dieticians facilitate workshops on basic nutrition and healthy meal preparation,” Hill said. “They will focus on preparing different types of breakfast foods, healthy snacks, smoothies and easy-to-prepare meals. Attendees will be expected to participate in the cooking demonstrations and can participate in our six to eight week workshops (later).”
Vernon Park will have a free entertainment line-up that will take into account the tastes of both children and adults. Faith Community United for a Healthier Germantown’s mission is to provide a health fair dedicated to a healthy body, mind and spirit. It was founded in 2008.
CEFN is a 501c3 nonprofit community organization. It seeks to educate the Northwest Philadelphia area about ways to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles with a mission to empower individuals to make permanent lifestyle changes.
The group was established in 2007. Two years later it developed a Public Access television show, “Focus on Fitness,” which airs three times a week on Comcast 66/966 and Verizon FIOS on channel 29/39. For more information, call Hill at (215) 848-4957.
Jasmin Smith, of Germantown, recently enjoyed the Faith Community United Health Fair in her neighborhood Saturday in Vernon Park at Germantown and Chelten avenues.
Smith followed the drill team until she wound up for an unexpected day-long adventure of health lectures, entertainment, and revelry for the children she brought along.
Lara Gonzales, also of Germantown, was among those listening to Debra Jones of Teen Challenge share her testimony from the stage. She had her nieces, Yasmine and Jovella, with her.
“This has been a day of inspiration and I’ve learned so much,” she said. “I feel like I was in church, at the spa and a children’s playground, with the fire trucks here — so it was awesome.”
“When you are healthier you are able to give a better witness,” said Jones from the Germantown Avenue stage.
Those visiting the array of neighborhood vendors or registering to vote at a nearby table could hear Jones’ resonating voice.
“During these times it is important to stay healthy,” she said. “When you do stay healthy even if you are oppressed, you are more emotionally stable. So I invite all you, whether or not you are a person of faith, to become a believer. We need to make a call to a healthier Germantown.”
Brother Saadiq is the co-chair of Faith United Germantown.
He said the Saturday event was the fifth one the group has sponsored. Yet he stressed that with the stellar weather and the consistent turnout, it was the best.
“I don’t believe in stressing the negatives in our community,” Saadiq said. “I believe you can turn a negative into a positive with positive action. When you have something like this on a beautiful day it is sending a message to Germantown. We are saying we are making this into a healthy place.”
Freeman Hildegarde is the one fellow organizers called “the brainchild” of the event.
“This is the best event we’ve had with the Wesley Norton Jazz Quartet, the drill team that brought people from Pathmark to here, and the zumba demonstration,” she said. “You could not ask for me.”