CRESTVIEW — North Okaloosa County residents visited Crestview High School on Saturday for the 3rd Masonic District’s 6th Annual No Child without Health Care Fair, which provided free children’s health screenings.
The fair featured 10 Crestview physicians and four Pensacola doctors. Children received free dental exams from Northwest Florida State College’s dental program.
Dr. Undi Christopher, a local practitioner, said she was happy to provide free physicals.
"Nothing should be a barrier for a kid to get into school," Christopher said. "This is one way we can get them into school."
Jacques Susic of Crestview said he appreciated the service.
"We don't have the proper health care that we need," Susic said. "I am fortunate to have a place like this to take my children."
Marilyn Parks of Baker said the health fair was convenient for her grandchildren.
"This came at a perfect time," she said. "My grandson needed a physical to play football."
Parks, who represented Okaloosa Head Start, said the service particularly benefited the nonprofit’s clients.
"I work with families that don't have health insurance,” she said. “So what we do is find out when it is and make sure to notify them."
The Childcare Network of Crestview handed out free fruit to attendees to promote nutritious habits.
"We are just trying to promote children's healthy eating," director Cheri Pittman said.
Volunteers also grilled free hamburgers and hot dogs for those in attendance.
Adam Chinnasami, 14, a North Carolina native, was invited by his uncle, Dr. Joseph Peters, to introduce a nutrition initiative.
"ROG is a nutritional program designed by me and my brother to teach kids at an early age to eat healthy," Chinnasami said.
ROG, which stands for red, orange and green, teaches children to identify foods that are healthy, those that are unhealthy and those that should be eaten with caution.
ROG uses the same method that motorists use when approaching a traffic light, Chinnasama said.
"Red is for unhealthy foods that are over 10 grams of fat, green foods are for healthy foods and yellow is for foods in the middle," Chinnasami said.
Adam and Alexander Chinnasami have been promoting the program to help children develop healthy eating habits.
"Obesity is such a big problem in the United States ... our generation might not live as long as the preceding generation," Chinnasami said. "That's what inspired me and my brother with this program."
Event organizer Malcolm Haynes said this year’s blood donations were just shy of the Masons’ goal.
"Our goal was 25 pints; we had 24 pints," Haynes said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.