CARE Fair benefits from Obici volunteers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 7, 2003

When the Suffolk C.A.R.E. Fair returns Saturday, dozens of helpers will be on hand to greet 1,000 or more visitors. Among the assistants will be nearly 50 Obici Hospital volunteers.

But volunteer involvement in the fun, health and fitness fair begins well beforehand. To give just one example, on Wednesday, four Obici volunteers stuffed roughly 700 &uot;C.A.R.E. packages&uot; with notepads, pencils and toys. The goody-filled plastic bags will be distributed, one per family, at the entrance to the free event, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at King’s Fork Middle School, 350 King’s Fork Road.

&uot;We got here at 8, but we probably didn’t get started until 8:30,&uot; said Anna Scott, who expected to spend the greater part of the day in a hospital conference room where a large table doubled as an assembly line. &uot;This year there are more toys and they’re better quality.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Clarice Adkins dangled a miniature slinky, while Mary Sue Johnson briefly modeled a pair of star-shaped sunglasses. Hilda Mansfield sorted through wristbands with whistles, tiny bottles of bubbles, child-safe scissors, stencil rulers and other items provided by the Early Childhood Development Commission and Obici Hospital.

One observer of the bag-stuffing proceedings said it looked like Santa’s workshop.

The &uot;C.A.R.E. packages&uot; are part of the fun of C.A.R.E. Fair. More free fun will be provided by the Hurrah Players performing excerpts from &uot;Babes in Toyland&uot; and from pony rides, hay wagon rides, trackless train rides, a petting zoo, a fire truck and ladder demonstration, a Teddy Bear Clinic, the Fire Safety House, putt-putt golf, art projects, face painting and storytelling. Refreshments will be free, as well.

But C.A.R.E. stands for Children’s Assistance & Resource Event, and some of that help will come from free and convenient back-to-school services. These include school registration, school physicals and state-required immunizations. C.A.R.E. Fair also offers free health screenings and access to numerous human services agencies.

The event is intended for children up to 12 years old and their families. This year’s theme is Keys to a Healthy Community.

Sponsors are the Early Childhood Development Commission, Obici Health System/Obici Foundation for Community Health Improvement, Suffolk Department of Social Services, Suffolk Health Department, Suffolk Parks and Recreation, Suffolk Public Schools, and The Children’s Center.

In all, roughly 35 local and state health and human services agencies are scheduled to participate. In addition to back-to-school services and health screenings, information will be available on childcare, safety, nutrition, fitness, and support and opportunities for low-income families.

New this year will be a hands-on workshop where children will construct wooden items such as birdhouses or spice racks. The kits have been donated by Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Other new attractions include demonstrations of martial arts and gymnastics. Police dogs and their handlers will demonstrate canine detection skills.

Especially popular every year are the hands-on educational sessions that parents and children enjoy together. For example, in &uot;Don’t Get Caught Dirty Handed,&uot; the &uot;Glo Germ&uot; will reveal where germs hide even when people think they’ve washed their hands thoroughly. The life-jacket relay, part of &uot;W.H.A.L.E.S. Tales&uot; water safety instruction,

will require team members to fasten their life jackets properly to win a relay race. Visitors will get creative with popcorn in &uot;Poppin’ Up Healthy Snacks.&uot;

Suffolk Public Schools will offer free transportation for those who are unable to get to the C.A.R.E. Fair on their own. Buses will pick up guests at the following sites at 9 and 11 a.m., and 1 p.m.

— Driver Elementary School, 4270 Driver Lane.

— Holland Athletic Field, Holland Road.

— John F. Kennedy Middle School, 2523 E. Washington St.

— White Marsh Shopping Center, 1226 White Marsh Road.

Guests will be returned to their pick-up site when they are ready to leave the fair.

Many C.A.R.E. Fair activities will be offered continuously. Some demonstrations and programs will operate on a recurring schedule. All will be free! Guests may pick up an Event Guide and C.A.R.E. package when they arrive for Suffolk’s one-stop fun, health and education fair, the 8th annual C.A.R.E. Fair.