An annual event put on to promote public health screenings and education will look a bit different this year – but the goal remains firm.
On Dec. 3 and 4, 2020, the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce (GMCC), in partnership with the city of Mission and Mission Regional Medical Center (MRMC) will host its 26th annual Mission Community Health & Wellness Fair. The event, to be held at the Mission Event Center (2425 Ruby Red Blvd.), is free and open to the public and will provide free comprehensive blood screenings, awareness and education.
The event is open to anyone in the public. C.J. Sanchez, the Vice President of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce, said the event will look a bit different this year considering the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Take advantage – even if you’ve gotten blood work done before, it doesn’t hurt to double-check things and make sure that all is going well,” Sanchez said. “We want to make sure that our immune systems are strong and our families are in good health.”
The MRMC laboratory team will provide a free master blood test over the two-day event while supplies last, in which a 12-hour fast is required before the test. In order to keep everyone as safe as possible while still providing the services, wellness blood tests will be done by appointment.
“They prepare for 500, but from what I know of we haven’t exceeded that in the past couple of years,” Sanchez said. “We’re at about 100 appointments already, and we are going to do some social media pushes [to get the word out there].”
Appointments can be made by contacting the GMCC office at 956-585-2727 Mon. through Fri. from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Free health screenings will be provided as well and will include flu vaccines, a complete blood count, total cholesterol, a comprehensive metabolic panel, QuantaFlow and more, according to a press release from the chamber.
“We want to make sure we make it accessible for everybody,” Sanchez said, noting in the past it has been well-attended by Winter Texans. “This is something for everyone to take advantage of, moreso the lower-economic community who may not have health insurance and want the opportunity to check how they’re doing.”
The Health & Wellness Fair will also include a virtual educational component, where attendees will be able to “learn more about local health services and participate in virtual health discussions, pertaining to staying safe from COVID-19 and other health education topics.” The panels will be conducted by specialty doctors from the MRMC.
“We wanted to add components that draw people in, with the education, trying to switch up our vendors and kind of give a variation of things that people want to get more information on,” Sanchez said, adding they can learn about dentist services, gym memberships and healthy eating options. “This year we’re going to have to take it back to basics, just for the mere fact for safety.”
The chamber hopes the virtual panels will both increase attendance while keeping the community at large safe.
“We want to cover our bases,” Sanchez said. “The hospital is getting their doctors involved to be able to get reminders out there and educate us on the things that we maybe need to get more familiar with because of COVID and the situation we are in now.”
The appointment aspect is also new, as it used to be on a first come, first served basis. In order to minimize people waiting in line and mitigate any spread of the coronavirus, the new policy was adapted for this year, and the chamber moved the event up just in time for the winter holiday season.
“Despite the many adjustments and changes our country and community have endured this past year, The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is now more than ever, focused and committed to advocating for a healthier community environment,” Brenda Enriquez, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the GMCC said. “We continue to support and encourage our business partners to come together to engage in meaningful efforts for the well-being of the All-America city of Mission.”
The chamber will provide local organizations and business members the opportunity to gather to help educate and serve, and encourages organizations interested in participating as a health and wellness vendor to purchase a booth at the fair. Sanchez said the annual event has evolved and grown over the years to ensure everyone has access to both screenings and health knowledge.
“It’s for everybody,” Sanchez said. “We wanted to give everybody the chance to get those flu shots in, to get things figured out sooner rather than later.”
Through these efforts, the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce “aims to truly make an impact on the quality of life by providing vital services to all individuals and families of the community.” Sponsorships and exhibitors’ booths are now available for purchase by contacting C.J. Sanchez, GMCC Vice President at 956-585-2727, or at [email protected]
“Anything we can do, we’re going to do it,” Sanchez said. “The mission is the same: to encourage everybody to start off on a healthy note and get themselves checked out so they can get what they need to go from there.”
More information about the event can be found by checking Facebook or visiting www.missionchamber.com. Appointments for wellness blood tests can be made by contacting the GMCC office at 956-585-2727 or by emailing [email protected] Mon. – Fri. from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
“The goal is to promote the health and wellness of our community right now and really do our part to offer anything we can to get holidays started off on the right note,” Sanchez said. “This is our way to promote safety in our community.”