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A New Kind of Health Fair in Pleasanton

The saying goes that, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and in today’s connected world we know that a multi-faceted approach to health is necessary for holistic community wellness. For that reason, it was a joy to have recently worked at the intersections of education, food, medicine and local government collaborating to raise the collective health of my home district in Pleasanton, California.

Pleasanton Middle School leading the charge on healthy eating for its students and community at large.

Pleasanton Middle School leading the charge on healthy eating for its students and community at large.

As the Wellness Chair of the Pleasanton Unified School District, I learned that the City of Pleasanton was organizing a health fair to serve not only the general public, but was also taking special measures to reach those who are underserved and often overlooked in the community.  I was thrilled to learn of this new development, which signified a move away from standard health fairs, to one that truly supports everyone’s health, philanthropically.

Top natural brands and private label snacks encouraged attendees to try healthier takes on pantry staples.

Top natural brands and private label snacks encouraged attendees to try healthier takes on pantry staples.

This collaboration inspired me to leverage the hat I wear during work hours as an On-Site Business Consultant for SPINS at Albertson’s Safeway. Using SPINS’ robust sales analysis tools, I identified the non-perishable natural and organic products with the highest absolute dollar growth at Albertsons Safeway.  The school district donated funds to purchase these products for donation, and without hesitation Safeway further matched the funding to allocate towards donation of their private label health and wellness foods. This teamwork resulted in over $1,000 worth of healthy goods like KIND Bars, Vita Coco Coconut Water, Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn, Annie’s Fruits Snacks, and Safeway’s Open Nature, Eating Right and O Organics products being donated to attendees at the event. Safeway further provided high value coupons for participants to return to their stores to purchase their favorite items from the fair.

200 attendees and local news crews came together for this novel health fair.

200 attendees and local news crews came together for this novel health fair.

In addition to free healthy food, the health fair provided free physical exams, immunizations, dental and vision screening, nutrition and other wellness workshops, as well as music and entertainment for all.  The event coordinators expected 200 attendees, but due to the great need in the community and the gracious time and funding of vendors, over 500 people attended the event!  The school district staff engaged with the participants and experienced their reaction to free, healthy and great tasting food. Most received the products after attending a free workshop on nutrition fundamentals so they were excited to get started immediately!  The gratitude and excitement was palpable, and I was excited to learn that due to the overwhelming success, two future events will be scheduled before the end of the year.

Cooperating for the common good of Pleasanton.

Cooperating for the common good of Pleasanton.

While we are experiencing rapid innovations in healthcare, wellness and within the food industry whereby healthy food is becoming more widely available and more affordable, organizations such as Albertsons, SPINS LLC and the City of Pleasanton demonstrate the most innovative approach of all:  the power of community collaboration for the greater good. As more of us are learning:  the first wealth is health and everyone is entitled to it!