NBC News recently estimated that the average national cost for back-to-school supplies per student is $1,000. When the average low-income family reportedly consists of two to four children, that number can get quite high, quite fast.
When the Sonoma Valley Health Center (SVHC) recognized this community need four years ago, it sought to address the program with a Back To School Health Fair. This year, in association with Sonoma Valley Hospital, FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping) of Sonoma Valley, La Luz Center, Hanna Institute, The Club at Maxwell, Sonoma 4Cs (Community Child Care Council), Dragones Latinxs of SVHS and Valley of the Moon Lions Club, SVHC will provide complimentary resources from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11.
Services include Tdap vaccines for those students entering seventh grade, fluoride treatments, vision and posture screenings, informational booths, health education and school supply giveaways. Entertainment and kids activities, such as Legos, face paint and puzzles, will be offered while parents are informed about health programs and recommendations. Healthy snacks and free food will also be available for on-the-spot consumption.
Fair organizer and SVHC outreach and event coordinator Maricarmen Reyes said that the fair has grown rapidly over the past three years.
“During its first year, in 2015, the fair provided 175 backpacks, a number that has increased by 100 each year,” she said. “This year, we are looking to provide at least 400 backpacks donated by Sonoma FISH in addition to an internal drive by Sonoma Valley Hospital. Many parents expressed their gratitude and how helpful it is with school expenses, especially when having more than two kids.
For more information about the drive and the fair or to find additional ways to assist, call SVCHC outreach and event coordinator Maricarmen Reyes at 939-6070 Ext. 112 or email email@example.com.