YSI provides meals and free health screenings for families for Thanksgiving

YSI hosted a Holiday Food Bank and Health Fair before Thanksgiving to benefit children and families in its care. The event provided a festive holiday environment and an opportunity to pick up food baskets for holiday meals for more than 75 families. It also provided medical screenings.

Student volunteers and nurses from the University of Pennsylvania and Holy Family University donated food and performed heart rate screenings, blood pressure screenings, as well as heart and lung scans. Volunteers also educated families about important issues such as hand and cell phone hygiene and flu prevention.

The November 21 event was filled with interactive medical activities for children, face painting and a coloring station. More than 50 volunteers came together to donate, sort and distribute food baskets. Donations also provided meals for Baring House Crisis Nursery and YSI’s Teen Success program. “It was a wonderful experience helping to organize food and interact with the children,” said Professor Wendi Smith, Holy Family instructor. Baring House staff also visited the event, bringing their young charges to learn about proper hygiene and the importance of not spreading germs. The children enjoyed games, holiday treats and had the opportunity to listen to their heart beat and learn how to check their pulse. The staff also took advantage of the screenings. “I was glad I got my pressure checked because they said it was high and I didn’t realize it,” said Miss Ella, Baring House teacher.

Students and nurses toured Baring House to look for future opportunities for children and families to receive free medical screenings. “While visiting, I began playing with three preschoolers who stole my heart. Before I knew it, I had played with them for an hour. When I eventually needed to leave, a little boy gently put his hand on my arm and asked me not to go. This was an obvious sign that I needed to return,” Professor Smith said. “I plan to spend time at the crisis nursery in the future and help out YSI with future events. YSI is an incredible organization that provides services and resources that families in the community desperately need. It was a wonderful experience for myself and my students to play a small part in the mission of YSI.”