Be Aware Wellness Fair & Summerfest Run in Community Park Today

By Benjamin Cox on June 12, 2024 at 8:31am

Volunteers at the Salvation Army pack up boxes of food yesterday for today's Community Park Drive-Thru Food Distribution.

Jacksonville’s Community Park will be buzzing with two events running simultaneously today.

The Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Jacksonville Memorial Hospital will be hosting the Be Aware Wellness Fair and the Prairieland United Way will be hosting the annual Summerfest.

There will be Health & Wellness exhibits, screenings, healthy activities, youth activities and games, free snacks, and two food giveaways.

Executive Director of Prairieland United Way Karen Walker says that last month’s Prairieland United Way food drive was a huge success despite the ongoing food insecurity striking low-income families and area food banks: “I wasn’t really sure what to expect because we’ve had a lot of very needed outreach for the Jacksonville Area Food Center asking for help directly. I know very generous individuals and groups have been supplying them, trying to help them restock their shelves as well as the Salvation Army. We know that there has been lots of giving to those two organizations. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we had local businesses, churches who supported our drive in addition to what individuals were able to do. We were very happy when we gathered all of our collections. I don’t ever really have a way of weighing the amount we got. If you look at our Facebook page, you can see the pictures of all of the food that we have collected. We really focused on the kid-friendly items to help supplement what kids might need to get through the summer months when they don’t have the school lunch program. By the time we got done with the drive, we have 105 bags of food we are going to give out to individual families.”

Food collected and ready to be bagged up for the kid-centric food giveaway from Prairieland United Way.

Both events will run from 4-6PM in Community Park tomorrow. Walker says there will be no requirements to pick up the kid-centric food bags from the Prairieland United Way booth. It will be on a first come-first served basis.

Walker says if you miss out on Prairieland’s food giveaway, there is another opportunity to get food for your family during the event with a drive-thru event, similar to last year: “It’s going to come along side the park much like last year. DOT Foods as well as Central Illinois Food Bank have donated food that we worked on yesterday to put together for a drive-thru distribution as well at 4PM. There will be food boxes donated to families in need that can drive through and pick those up. We have more than 10,000 pounds of food that came in, so several boxes of food will be given out to families.”

Other organizations in attendance will be the Spirit of Faith Soup Kitchen and the Jacksonville Salvation Army. For more information, visit the Prairieland United Way, Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce, or Jacksonville Memorial Hospital’s Facebook Pages.