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Berkeley Springs Church Hosts Health Expo at Street Festival

Story by Ruth Wright; Photos by Dave Sipes
Published 11/9/11

Each fall, an estimated 5,000-6,000 people attend the annual Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. For the second year in a row, the Chesapeake Conference’s Berkeley Springs church took advantage of the crowds attending this street festival and held their health expo during the event. Over the two days, more than 400 adults and children visited the church’s booth on a side street at which they offered free health screenings and gave away healthy snacks. Many more visited the church’s booth on the many street, with one person estimating that they gave out 1,000 pieces of literature.

Adults had the opportunity to check their blood sugar, blood pressure, air capacity, body mass index, resting and exercise heart rate and have an anti-stress chair massage, while children enjoyed their own activities at NEWSTART visual art stations. They blew bubbles, did chalk art, played with water toys, arranged a food pyramid on a ladder, and tossed beanbags.

Church members distributed bottled drinking water and healthy snacks—homemade granola bars, apples, hummus with carrot and celery sticks, trail mix and popcorn balls. “Can’t believe you’re doing all this for free!” many visitors commented, then asked “Who sponsors this?”

At the last station, retired pastor Al Cyr and his wife, Darlene, offered lifestyle counseling. Several people who talked with them accepted the offer of free Bible studies.

The church also set up a double booth on the main street where children got balloons and could design their own free sun visors. A special drawing for a free set of Bible Stories drew the attention of passersby. Adult and youth volunteers gave away hundreds of pieces of spiritual literature, including Real magazine for juniors. Two young ladies with children in strollers were excited to discover free Bibles and a book about Jesus, The Desire of Ages. “This is just what we’ve been praying for!” said one.

When giving away copies of Vibrant Life magazine, church members also invited community members to view the film Forks Over Knives at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Hagerstown. At least four families who got the flyers attended the showing.

“The Lord opened this opportunity to serve the Berkeley Springs community. [It was] such a privilege,” Pastor Hal Butman said. “Many of our church members (and some of their friends as well) were involved in this outreach, greeting and serving participants. I couldn’t be prouder!”