Healthy Family Fair draws hundreds

Roughly 400 residents showed up at the Marshalltown Public Library for the Healthy Family Fair on Saturday before much-needed rain arrived.

Joa LaVille, co-organizer of the fair, said fortunately the rain arrived toward the end of the scheduled time slot.

“It went great,” she said. “People seemed excited about having something to do and they learned stuff about the organizations which were here. This was a good fair.”

Months of work went into planning the event, and LaVille said there was a lot of pivoting going on during that time.

“We had a lot of adjustments that had to be made,” she said.

Esmeralda Monroy, the supervisor for the home visiting program at Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS), was another organizer of the fair. She was very happy with the amount of people who attended and learned about the 70 different organizations and volunteers that set up booths.

Monroy was very excited about holding the fair outside. Typically, the event is inside the library, but due to the pandemic, it was thought outside would be better, which provided opportunities not available before. The Iowa National Guard, the Marshalltown Fire Department and the Marshalltown Police Department arrived with vehicles, which drew the attention of numerous children.

“The kids enjoyed the vehicles,” Monroy said. “This was an absolute pleasure.”

Holding the event outside also provided opportunities for hands-on activities such as sidewalk chalk. LaVille said if the event had been held inside, the set-up would have been similar to an assembly line — attendees just lined up and going from one booth to another.

There was even some entertainment provided by William and BlackJack, which captured a lot of attention. Fisher Elementary fourth-grade teacher David Daugherty, the creator of the show, could be seen dressed in garb, juggling sticks.

“I came because I like to do things for the public library,” Daugherty said. “Since I teach, I already know a lot of the kids.”

One of the community organizations at the Healthy Family Fair was Hope4Healing, a non-profit dedicated to helping people find assistance and support.

Ryan Keller, the director, said Hope4Healing covers all of Iowa and there are no fees for their services.

The people at Hope4Healing, which has been in Marshalltown since 2014, are dedicated to finding resources for people in need and creating a supportive community through church friendships. Keller said they brought information and bags to give to interested people.

“A lot of people are interested,” he said. “Before the tornado, we handled about 400 to 500 requests per year. After the tornado, the derecho and the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been handling 3,000 to 4,000 requests per year.”

In addition to non-profits, and first responders agencies, Marshall County Public Health was present and provided COVID-19 vaccinations to whoever was interested. Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said seven Johnson & Johnson shots were given.

“It was more than I was expecting,” Thompson said. “People were also asking questions about it and said they had to think about it. Asking those questions is important.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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