Silver Spring resident Sara Lovinger left Veterans Plaza Friday afternoon with an armful of brochures during the sixth annual Health and Wellness Fair.
“I like these kinds of things and I think they’re great for the community,” Lovinger said of the fair. “It’s just a wonderful way to know about the resources here in the county.”
The fair, put on by Silver Spring-based DB Consulting Group and Lux Consulting Group, the Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, provided space for 43 vendors to offer their free services and health consultations.
DB Consulting’s Barbara Parker Triplet of Washington, D.C., said it took her about three months worth of planning to put on the event. She said mental health and substance abuse vendors were new to the fair this year, along with lung cancer screening that patrons had to qualify for.
“We just hope to get everybody on in a healthy frame of mind and give them the tools they need if they don’t have them,” said Parker Triplet, who said nearly 1,000 people attended Friday’s fair.
Councilman George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park told the crowd that even after health reform is fully implemented, an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people in the county will still not have access to health insurance. He touted Montgomery Cares, which is a county-wide program that provides health care to uninsured, low-income adult residents.
County Executive Isiah Leggett stressed the importance of health awareness and making sure as many people as possible have access to the “resources that can better prepare us to live a happy life.”
“Waking up the following day [knowing] that you should’ve done something the day before because of a health concern is oftentimes too late,” Leggett said. “Having that level of awareness and being educated ... is something that we need to ensure that our entire community is aware of.”
Emily Boulin of Silver Spring was tabling at the fair on behalf of Priority Partners. She said she was there to give out information about health insurance and network with other businesses in the health care industry.
“Many families don’t have health insurance because they lost their jobs and lost health insurance,” Boulin said, adding that she provided information about health care offered through the state.
Markia Wright, a Silver Spring resident and student at the University of Maryland in College Park, said she was at the fair on behalf of the YMCA where she interns.
“The Y wants to bring more awareness to the center and the wellness department there,” Wright said. “[And] I want to learn a lot more about what is around the community here.”