Unity hosts Day of Caring

by Hannah Robison
and Sonja J. Keith

More than 1,300 children and adults received services – from school supplies and medical care to free haircuts and new shoes – at the 21st Annual A Day of Caring presented by Unity Health.

Described as a day of medical mission, the event was held to help uninsured and underinsured residents of White County and the surrounding areas.

This year, 1,340 participants received assistance through the day, which was staffed by 450 volunteers from Unity Health and the community. The event has drawn as many as 1,800 previously.

Unity Health President and CEO Ray Montgomery said that the event is held to meet the needs of the community. He said it takes about a year to plan and prepare for it, with different groups coming together to help those in the area on this special day.

“Health care is more than a hospital,” he said, adding that Unity wants to be known as servants in the community.

The event was held in the newly remodeled Harding University Ganus Athletic Center. According to Montgomery, Harding donated use of the facility for the event.

After registering at the event, participants had the option to receive medical services, including dental, vision and physical exams. “Most people want to do it all while they are here,” said Unity Health Marketing Director Brooke Pryor, adding that for some, it is the one time each year that they receive these services.

Physicians, physician residents, mid-level providers, dentists, eye doctors and pharmacies from the local medical community donated their time and services at A Day of Caring. There were 93 medical exams, 136 dental screenings and 76 eye screenings performed and prescriptions were filled for 31 participants. Pap exams, depression screenings and blood sugar checks were also given.

Also, 26 local organizations set up booths to provide educational materials to participants on health and social services.  

A total of 590 bags of school supplies were distributed. Hair stylists gave 125 haircuts, 550 bags of groceries were distributed along with 370 bags of personal care items. “We try to give them enough (personal care items) for a family of four to five for a month,” Pryor said, adding that the bag of groceries should generate three meals.

The Kiwanis Club of Searcy distributed 650 pairs of shoes to children present.

“These kids walk out of here feeling confident with their new haircut, school supplies and new shoes,” Pryor said.

There were 6o car seat safety checks and 1,070 Gideon Bibles were given out to participants. Other items given out included additional personal care products, diapers and children’s socks and underwear.

The Junior Auxiliary of Searcy provided 1,400 lunches distributed to participants and volunteers.

“We are always amazed at the remarkable turnout of volunteers and sponsors,” said Pryor, who explained that the event happens over a three-hour period. “The spirit of volunteerism in our community is tremendous, and our hospital is proud to be part of a community that cares for its neighbors. Thank you to each volunteer and sponsor who served at A Day of Caring.”

A Day of Caring 2017 was sponsored by:

Sharing Sponsors: ARcare, Arkansas State University – Beebe, CARTI, Centennial Bank, Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation, Eaton Corporation, Economic Recovery Consults, Edward Jones, Families, Inc., First Community Bank, First Security Bank, First United Methodist Church Thrift Shop, Kids Unlimited Learning Academy, NorthStar EMS, Radiology Associates Searcy Breast Center, Regions Bank, Simmons First Bank, Southern Bank, Valley Baptist Church, Walmart Foundation, White County Community Foundation, White County Farm Bureau, Unity Health Auxiliary and Unity Health clinics.

Caring sponsors were: Cool 104, Crain Media, Harding Press, Harding University, Harps Pharmacy, Junior Auxiliary of Searcy, Kiwanis Club of Searcy, Lions Club of Searcy, Marco’s Pizza, Quality Office, Quattlebaum Music Center, Rotary Club of Searcy, Searcy Beauty College, Stotts Drug Store, The Caring Dentist Group, The Daily Citizen, Three Rivers Edition, and White County Health Department.

Pryor said organizers take notes during the event to share afterward. “Even after 21 years, we still make changes every year,” she said.