Unity Health hosts A Day of Caring

by Taryn Brown

In any community, it is important to take care of one another, whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually or all the above. The community of Searcy strives to accomplish this through a medical mission called A Day of Caring.

What started more than 20 years ago as a grassroots effort to provide those in need with shots and immunizations for children, has grown to offer much more for White County and the surrounding communities. Unity Health hosted the 23rd Annual A Day of Caring on July 27.

A Day of Caring is a community-wide outreach program created to help uninsured and underinsured residents. Free medical, dental and eye screenings are provided; additional services offered include haircuts, pharmacy services and pap exams. Items such as school supplies, Bibles, children’s socks and shoes, underwear, diapers, groceries and personal care items are also distributed.

Various health screenings and social service information is available to participants.

In the beginning, Unity Health (known as White County Medical Center at the time), ASU-Searcy School of Nursing, Harding University College of Nursing, Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, Kiwanis Club, Optimist Club, Rotary Club and the White County Health Department saw the need to provide an option for immunizations to those who may not be able to afford it. Today, the amount of medical services, goods, volunteers and health education has grown substantially.

At A Day of Caring: RN, Infection Prevention, Meghann Holmes (from left), physician resident Dr. Corissa McKenzie, Quality Improvement/Risk Management & Compliance Director Debbie Hare and Assistant Vice President of Finance Mary Kagen.
Unity Health Vice President/Treasurer Stuart Hill (from left), auxiliary volunteer Ron Rupe and physician sesident, Dr. Timothy Garrabrant at the 23rd Annual A Day of Caring.

“It takes a community to make A Day of Caring possible,” said Unity Health Marketing Coordinator and A Day of Caring Coordinator Anna Brumfield.

“This event would not be possible without the community coming together to help our friends and neighbors in need.”

Unity Health partners with local businesses, organizations and churches, as well as physicians, physician residents, nurses, Unity Health associates, dentists, eye doctors and their staff and numerous community volunteers each year to make A Day of Caring possible.

“A Day of Caring volunteers are there because they want to bless someone else and always end up receiving blessings in return,” Brumfield said. “A Day of Caring volunteers make a difference in the lives of those coming through, even if it is for a short time, and the smiling faces of those receiving help make it all worth it.”

This year, 1,150 participants received assistance from 450 volunteers during A Day of Caring, which was held at the Ganus Activities Complex at Harding University. The White County Health Department also opens with special hours on the event day each year to provide those same immunizations that started A Day of Caring.

“This is our 23rd year for this event and we are still amazed at the incredible turnout we have of volunteers, sponsors and participants,” said Unity Health Marketing Director Brooke Pryor. “Our volunteers, sponsors and donors know we could not pull off an event of this magnitude without their support. We are incredibly proud to be part of a community that cares for its neighbors, and we cannot say thank you enough.”

Participants are able to go through a medical section where they have the choice to receive medical, dental and eye exams. If they need to be seen further, the appropriate provider will refer them to the correct facility for little to no cost.

A number of community booths are also set up to distribute health education as well as school supplies, clothing and groceries.

“This year was another great success thanks to everyone who participated and volunteered,” Brumfield said. “We are blessed to live in this community that supports and cares for one another, and we look forward to next year!”