Packard Health offers Healthy Kids Fair July 21 as outreach to vulnerable children and families

Packard Health is offering free back-to-school supplies, health checks, and family-friendly activities during a Healthy Kids Fair from 1-3 p.m. July 21 at its Ypsilanti location, 200 Arnet St.


The second annual fair is intended as community outreach to help vulnerable kids and their families, who might not have a steady primary care physician, prepare to go back to school this fall. The afternoon will include fun activities like face-painting and a bounce house but will also be an opportunity for children to receive health screenings, immunizations, and back-to-school physicals.


Additionally, Packard Health received grants and gifts from local businesses to offer free backpacks and free bike helmets, along with free helmet fittings, during the event.


The fair also serves as a celebration of Packard's 45th year in existence and a way to introduce the community to the organization's newest location. Packard Health executive director Raymond Rion says that many people know about Packard's main location on Packard Avenue as well as its office on Ann Arbor's west side, but the organization hasn't spent much time publicizing its newest location.


"We started off pretty quietly," Rion says of of the Ypsilanti location, which has been open about two and a half years. "We have an understated corporate culture and don't always excel at blowing our own horn."


He adds that opening another location in the heart of Ypsi made sense because, while Washtenaw County has two strong major health systems, Packard Health aims to serve people who are underserved or experience barriers due to language, location, or the severity of their medical problems.


Rion notes that Washtenaw County has the eighth largest income disparity of any county in the nation, and with that income disparity comes health disparities.


"There's this gigantic life expectancy gap separated by just eight miles," he says.


Rion says that people who fit the "box" of the traditional healthcare model will receive "pretty good health care." But it's not so easy for those who face barriers to scheduling appointments in advance, showing up on time, or understanding their caregiver's instructions.


"The further you are from fitting well into the box on the box's terms, the less well the system serves you," Rion says. "What we've tried to do is figure out creative ways to get services outside the box."


More information about the Healthy Kids Fair is available on Packard Health's website.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.


Photos courtesy of Packard Health.

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