Back-to-school block party offers free health services to community

Community Health Center event set for Aug. 11

-Submitted photo
The Community Health Center block party will have many activities, including spin art like these from a past year's block party.

Children in the Fort Dodge area will soon be returning to school, which means it’s time for back-to-school health checks and immunizations.

The Community Health Center of Fort Dodge will celebrate National Health Center Week with a free community block party on Wednesday, Aug. 11.

“This event is two-fold. First, we’re celebrating National Health Center Week. Bringing awareness to the Health Center, acknowledging the success of the past year with everything that’s happened with the pandemic,” said Community Health Center Outreach Coordinator Regina Suhrbier.

“Secondly, we’re also helping kids get these school things checked off their list before school starts,” she said, “The need is definitely there for all these healthcare services before school.”

Suhrbier added, “The event is part of a national campaign to increase awareness of the ways health centers are providing affordable health care in communities. National Health Center Week is Aug. 8-14. The theme this year is ‘The Chemistry for Strong Communities.'”

Submitted photo Community memebers wait in line for a free meal during a previous Community Health Center block party. This year they will have a free meal again starting at 5 p.m.

The Community Health Center serves a vital role in Fort Dodge, but not everyone knows about the resources available.

“Our mission is to provide quality healthcare services to all. This week is a great opportunity to not only celebrate health care centers, but to make our community aware that we are here for them all year long,” said Community Health Center CEO Renae Kruckenberg.

Due to COVID-19, the Community Health Center was unable to hold this event last year but held it in several previous years.

“We’ve served probably over 100 kids in previous years,” said Suhrbier, “We want to serve as many as we can. We just want to get the word out for whomever needs us.”

Suhrbier said this is a need the community has every year.

“Because this is an annual thing we do, there are quite a few families that are regulars who come yearly to have these healthcare things before school starts,” she said, “We’ve had a lot of people calling already.”

Free well-child checks, immunizations, sports physicals and dental exams will be offered earlier in the day by appointment and by walk-in during the event.

“We have increased the hours in the past. 2019 was the first year we increased the hours for dental. This year we’re increasing the hours for dental and medical so that kids can make an appointment between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. if an appointment is an easier option for them and their family. Then from 5 to 8 p.m. we’re doing walk-ins,” said Suhrbier.

Appointments for health care services can be made by calling 515-576-6500.

In addition to dental and medical checks, children eligible for the Pfizer vaccine will have the chance to receive it during the event.

“We hope a lot of kids and families take advantage of Webster County Public Health coming to provide the Pfizer vaccine,” Suhrbier said.

She said students of all ages are welcome.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re in preschool or in college. Each age group has different requirements for back to school,” said Suhrbier. “Everybody has these requirements before school starts and being able to tick them off the list in one nifty evening is a pretty good way of doing it.”

A free meal will be served beginning at 5 p.m. and is open to the public while supplies last.

“We are lucky to have such great support from local businesses, as well as the Webster County Pork Producers, to be able to provide a meal during our event,” said Suhrbier.

The evening will also include games, activities and resources for families from many local organizations, businesses, and clubs.

“We will have spin art, bubbles, books, games and goodies for the kids to do while they are waiting to be seen for their healthcare needs,” Suhrbier said.

The block party will take place in front of their building located at 126 N. 10th St. in downtown Fort Dodge starting at 5 p.m.

“We’re excited about all the community partners that will be coming,” said Suhrbier. “There’s going to be a lot of fun activities and a lot of resources for families all in one spot. It’s just a really neat way to celebrate National Health Center Week.”


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