St. Ignatius Nursing and Rehab Center collaborated with Alain Locke School, West Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Church and the Department of Public Health to bring back the Health and Resource Festival Saturday Sept. 29, which had been absent from the neighborhood since 2015.
The center started what had been the annual festival in the early 2000s as a way to educate their community. To bring it back this year, they added partners and co-sponsors, making it bigger than ever.
Haverford Avenue was blocked off from the 4400 block to the 4600 block, filled with music, health screenings and informational booths providing health information from Mercy Health, Community College of Philadelphia and other organizations. There was even a boot camp session in the middle of the street.
Sadie Foster (pictured below), owner of Island Design salon in West Philadelphia, was invited to the festival to promote her hair salon and share natural hair care products. This was her first time at the festival, but she frequently attends healthcare events to educate women about natural hair, she said.
“We connect with not only your health, thinking about asthma or getting screenings or getting flu shots, but also your eternal health,” Foster said. “How do you look at yourself, how do you look at your own hair care, how do you look at the own beauty within yourself and how are you taking care of your natural hair?”
Hair care plays a role in one’s health and wellness, and Foster was there to teach rather than sell new products to customers, she said.
“Don’t buy everything on our table, we’d rather educate you, do consultations with you, let you know what’s best for you,” Foster said.
The festival was open to everyone, but there was a specific emphasis on the local community.
Delphine Cook (pictured below), a grandmother who lives up the block on Haverford Avenue, did not know about all the healthcare options that were available to her before coming.
“The importance [of the festival] is that I know where to go if I have issues,” Cook said. “It’s so many resources.”
Both Cook and her mother have health complications. Her mother was a patient at the Health Center recently after taking a bad fall, which is where she saw a flyer for the event. Her grandchildren were also able to get free school supplies from vendors at the festival.
“They have everything,” Cook said.
Text and images by Taylor Allen and Kaicey Baylor