Community Focus at Frankfort Corp’s Health, Safety, Back to School Fair
A community is more than a group of people living in the same place. It is a feeling of fellowship with others, through the sharing of common interests and goals. In Frankfort, Kentucky, The Salvation Army helped citizens come together at their 517 Green Up Avenue location for four years in a row to promote health and safety. This year, on August 10th, The Salvation Army added a “Back to School” element to create an event where youth could showcase their talents.
Although Majors Natalie and Curtis Sayre had only been at their new Frankfort, Kentucky appointment for six weeks, the decision to go full speed ahead into planning for the event, “PASSPORT Health, Safety & Back to School Fair” was an easy one.
“We’ve had such a warm welcome. It’s a small town and everyone is so nice. Of course having lived in mid-size or a large city, it’s quite a change. No one honks at you at a red light. You can relax a little bit and this event helped us get to know the community,” Major Natalie Sayre said.
“We had approximately 150 people attend – 225 with vendors and volunteers. The event created an activity where families came and spent the evening and shared information. It was also an opportunity for us, The Salvation Army, to meet the community, which was a huge bonus,” Sayre said.
During the free two-hour event, there were demonstrations, fun activities, food and drinks. Various agencies and businesses shared health plans, healthy nutritional lifestyle options, fire safety, traffic accident prevention, chiropractic care, fitness opportunities, and information about what The Salvation Army is all about.
Some people think of The Salvation Army as just the kettles at Christmas time and events like a community fair offer a unique opportunity to educate people about the many programs offered.
“People have a concept of what The Salvation Army is. But so many times when they meet us face to face they realize we are so much more. They might say ‘Well that’s just for people who need help or that is just for this or just for that’ but we are so much more than those one things people think we are. So this event is an opportunity for the community to meet The Salvation Army. That’s a huge bonus for us,” Sayre said.
Sometimes good ideas grow due to timing and enthusiasm.
“It started as a health and wellness fair then because of the time of year, we decided to combine it this year with back to school. Our social services coordinator, Misty Seitz, had more than 30 different groups come to do different things with gift cards, coupons, and free giveaways. We had everything from a towing company having a wrecked car, to the police department talking about texting and driving and having safely tips,” Sayre said.
Having a fire truck and an emergency medical services vehicle at the fair was especially exciting for the children in attendance. They were allowed to sit inside the emergency vehicles and talk to members of the fire department about their jobs.
“It lets all of us know what is going on in our community in the sense that you get to something like this and you say ‘I didn’t know they were here or that they did that.’ You get to learn new things and meet new people or learn more about somebody you already know,” Sayre said.
Misty Seitz, Social Services coordinator for The Salvation Army Frankfort, was the organizer of the event.
“This event developed out of my testimony of seeking a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to create an event that brings information on healthy choices to our community and to especially expose the lower income families and individuals to options they may not have considered,” Seitz said.
Demonstrations were given by the different vendors in attendance.
“PASSPORT Health Plan is the major sponsor and has been our sponsor each year. They gave us a $1000 donation. Three insurance companies attended. Also, a chiropractor had a machine that scans and shows folks the areas of concern in their body,” Sayre said.
PASSPORT is a non-profit, community-based healthcare provider. Their motto – “Our community is healthier when we work together!” – was a theme embraced by The Salvation Army event.
“The first 200 kids got some back to school supplies. CareSource provided $100 towards the purchase of school supplies. Aspen Dental passed out toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Frankfort Kiwanis bought all the food and made hamburgers and hot dogs to pass out to folks. They were all beef and turkey in keeping with the health and wellness theme,” Sayre said.
Participants saw something interesting at the community fair that they had probably never seen before – a bubble bike.
“The bubble bike is a stationary bike that will blow bubbles out when the rider gets to a certain speed. A group called Walk Bike Frankfort hosted the bubble bike. This local group advocates for walkways and encourages walking, biking and hiking in our community,” Sayre said.
It is the simple things that sometimes deserve the most attention.
“Sometimes it is just letting you know about the group and they might share something that a family didn’t know about or the significance about what they are doing regarding health. The information most of these groups shared was something new to a family. So in that sense it lets all of us come together and realize that our different lives are not so different after all and we are all one,” Major Natalie Sayre said.
Coming to Frankfort is already seen as a blessing for the Sayre family.
“I look at Frankfort and I think of it as a small community. It is so easy to be a part of and stay in our own area but when you come to something like this you realize how much you have in common. How much you need each other and how much fun it is to be with each other at the same time. For us as The Salvation Army, we are your Salvation Army and we are right there for you,” Major Natalie Sayre said.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating, go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer for additional information.