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St. Cecilia Parish hosts third annual community health fair

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Where can you get a dental exam, immigration resources, and hear traditional music from Michoacán, Mexico? On Sunday afternoon, your best bet is the third annual community health fair at St. Cecilia Catholic Church on Louisiana Avenue.

Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council started a community health fair three years ago to address the large ratio of uninsured people in St. Louis’ immigrant community.

Over 773,000 Missourians didn’t have health insurance coverage in 2013 based on U.S. Census Bureau data. More than 20 percent of the people who made up that number reside in St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

Sunday's event will offer free health screenings, immigration and education resources, and live music.

The fair initially started out as a resource for the Latino community said Sal Valadez, diversity and outreach representative for the council. It has since grown to welcome all immigrant groups and members of the public.

“What we’re focusing on is establishing relationships in the community based on mutual trust and respect,” Valadez said. “The bottom line is that there are a large number of people in our immigrant communities that don’t have health care or are underinsured. And if you don’t have health care, it has implications for your ability to work.”

Another fair organizer, Freddie Chavez,  see it as an opportunity to gather people who don’t often have the chance to connect.

“In the Latino community, we are so divided because we come from different parts of Mexico, Central America and [South] America, and when we get here, we can be afraid to get out there because of our immigration status,” said Chavez, president of Latinos en Axión St. Louis. “This fair tells them, there are organizations that don’t care if they are undocumented or not, there are people who want to help them.”

The fair will also have live entertainment all the way from Cherán, Mexico with performers from the Orquestra Mintsita P’urhepecha.

Follow Jenny on Twitter @jnnsmn

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