Diverse inner-city Indianapolis churches unite to coordinate health and resource fair as threat of “benefits cliff” looms

September 26, 2022

Community leaders and researchers from IUPUI are inviting people from around central Indiana to a free health and resource fair on Saturday, October 1 at the Julia Carson Center in Indianapolis. This event is sponsored by four Indianapolis churches who are partnering to support healthy communities in the predominantly-Black neighborhoods they serve. Health care is just one resource needed to live a healthy life, and vendors will offer a variety of services to help families, especially as COVID-19 pandemic relief is tapering off.

Holistic Approach, Health, Wellness and Medicine Infographics Illustration. Vector Design.

“With this fair, we are seeking to build relationships with neighbors and with the vendor organizations providing services for holistic health and quality of life,” said David Craig, who is a professor of religious studies at IUPUI, as well as a research affiliate with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). “Services will range from free flu shots and COVID-19 boosters to resources for people needing housing or job assistance, or experiencing re-entry from incarceration, all of which support better health.” Craig is co-directing the group organizing this event.

The four collaborating congregations, which include Crossroads AME Church, Broadway United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church North Indianapolis, and Allen Chapel AME Church, are organizing the fair with project partners IU Health and Good to the SOUL.

“These four congregations have been working intentionally since before the pandemic to ensure our readiness to provide leadership to the community we serve—to improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Ivan Douglas Hicks, who is the senior minister of First Baptist Church North Indianapolis. “This resource fair was designed to alert our community about the ‘benefits cliff’ on the horizon as we provide education and real help to a most deserving community.”

“Each congregation could have done this individually, but there is power in working together as a community,” said Shadreck Kamwendo, who is the director of the Congregation Care Network at IU Health. “IU Health supports this collaboration because we want to make Indiana a healthier state, which takes all of us.”

“This health and resource fair is indicative of the ministry our congregation has been called to do,” said Jerry E. Davis, III, who is the senior pastor of Crossroads AME Church. “It is imperative to be part of the community, listen to their needs, and create synergy with other community and church partners, so everyone benefits.”

Some other resources available at the event include:

  • Vocational support
  • Voter registration
  • Reproductive services
  • Support for people experiencing social isolation
  • Blood pressure and glucose screenings
  • Booths with information about arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and elder care
  • Certified navigators assisting with health coverage
  • HIV testing and counseling

The resource fair builds on the foundation of the #HealthyMe learning community, which began its efforts in the summer of 2020. Back then, leaders of several Indianapolis churches came together to start a community-wide conversation to help address issues of health and wellness starting with their own congregations.

In addition to sponsoring partner IU Health, some of the organizations contributing resources include Eskenazi Health, HealthNet, Anthem, MDwise, CICOA, Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, Martin Luther King Community Center, Crown Hill Neighborhood Association, Office of Congressman André Carson, Marion County Election Board, and IndyPendence Job Corp. The fair is hosted by the Center Township Trustees’ Office.

Event details:

  • Free resource fair – open to the public
  • Saturday, October 1
  • 10 am – 2 pm
  • Julia Carson Center – 300 E Fall Creek Pkwy N Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46205

Contact: Anna Carrera, acarrer@iu.edu, 614-570-6503 (cell)

|2022-09-27T11:17:38-04:00September 26th, 2022|Comments Off on Diverse inner-city Indianapolis churches unite to coordinate health and resource fair as threat of “benefits cliff” looms

About the Author: Anna Carrera

Anna Carrera
Anna Carrera is the research communications manager for Indiana University's Precision Health Initiative, IU School of Medicine Research Affairs and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She joined the team in June 2019 after working as a TV news reporter for ten years. She loves sharing stories about the great research being done across the state to improve the health of Hoosiers.

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