Planning a Congregational Health Fair

Background Information

(Shared by Margaret Hinchey, Former Wheat Ridge Ministries Area Representative)

Our Father Lutheran Church (Colorado) sponsored a Health Fair for our community in October of 1999 and 2000. We chose a Saturday which was closest to St. Luke’s Day (October 18) each year. Our congregation also has a community food distribution program once a month, so we publicized the health fair heavily with this group and held the event on the same day as the monthly distribution. We were blessed by having medical and health care volunteers for the event.

Suggested Schedule for Planning Your Health Fair

Nine Months Ahead of Proposed Date:

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Establish date and times of health fair. Some fairs go from 7:00 a.m. until 12:45 p.m., others have run from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Secure the facilities needed for the health fair – church or community center space.
  • Invite health care professionals through personal letter from names retrieved from congregational database.
  • Invite health care professionals to a planning meeting through congregational newsletter and bulletin. This will inform those who have an interest, but don’t appear on the congregation’s database.
  • Pray for a positive response!

Eight Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Hold initial planning/brainstorming meeting with health care professionals.
  • Establish date and times of health fair.
  • Contact local immunization resource to secure calendar date for flu shot immunizations at the health fair.
  • Contact blood lab to secure date for processing of blood work.

Seven Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Hold a meeting to make decision about what health care issues would be addressed at the health fair.

The following are some suggested areas:

  • Informational Displays: American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Diabetes Association, Parish Nursing, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, etc.
  • Demonstrations: Massage therapy, respiration testing, etc.
  • Workshops: Nutrition information, cancer information, weight management, etc.
  • Tests and Screenings: Hearing, blood pressure, body fat testing, etc.
  • Arrange for a health care professional and assistant to “manage” each area of responsibility.
  • Confirm that facility space has been reserved and that all health care workers have reserved the proposed date.

Five Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Hold a “check-up” meeting to see what progress has been made in each area.
  • Distribute a Space and Equipment Request Form to be completed and returned at the three month meeting.

Four Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Send informational articles to church body publications, print posters and assign someone to design flyers for church newsletter.
  • Reserve pipe and drape needed to create “exam rooms” for privacy if facility does not have such available.

Three Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Have meeting with all health care professionals to confirm that progress is being made in each area. Pray for guidance for each of the areas. Obtain Space and Equipment Request Form from each area. Clarify any questions relating to the needs of specific areas.

Two Months Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Send newsletter and bulletin announcements to all churches in your community. It is best to send different announcements for each of the six weeks leading up to the health fair.
  • Assign someone in the congregation to make signs according to the titles and information provided on the Space and Equipment Request Form.

One Month Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Have a “walk through” of the facility with all the area coordinators to map out the locations of all the displays, screening, and workshops.
  • Confirm with blood laboratory and immunization clinic to make sure supplies are ordered and personnel is available.
  • Prepare any handouts or informational packets to be distributed to participants, including a printed schedule of workshops, screenings, etc. Also prepare evaluation sheets to be distributed to attendees.

Two Weeks Ahead of Proposed Date

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Have a special presentation after each worship service to advertise the health fair, in addition to the printed notice in the bulletin.
  • Put up posters in merchant locations (where permitted), community centers, health clubs and churches.
  • Hold final meeting with all area coordinators to make sure there are no last minute concerns or needs. Pray for good weather and a great event!

The Day Before the Event

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Engage youth group or men’s group to set up tables, chairs, equipment, pipe and drape and signage. Have adult coordinators to be the “directors” in accomplishing these tasks.
  • Purchase coffee, granola bars, juice, etc., to have available for the health fair.

The Day of the Event

  • Pray for God’s blessing on the event!
  • Have check-in area with knowledgeable people who can direct people to the fair, walk participants through the procedures, explain purposes of different tests, etc.
  • If there are any fees to be collected, have a single individual collect and keep track of all fees.
  • Distribute and collect evaluation sheets from attendees as they check out.

The Week After the Event

  • All supplies returned to vendors.
  • Thank you letters to all who helped with the health fair.
  • Form a mailing list from those who attended.

Two Weeks After the Event

  • Hold an evaluation meeting to discuss the health fair, based on evaluation sheets from attendees as well as input from those who participated in the planning and implementation of the event.
  • Begin planning for next year’s health fair.
  • Have a prayer of thanks to God for blessing the event!