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Helpful health fair Dec. 5
Helping Hands awarded for public service
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At a time of year when many are practicing decidedly unhealthy habits by overloading on sweet and fatty foods, the Helping Hands free clinic is holding a health fair to offer residents the gift of good health.

The fourth annual Healthy for the Holidays health fair will take place Saturday, Dec. 5, at the clinic, 1733 Lake Rockaway Road.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the clinic will offer free health screenings and services for the whole family, including blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, dental referrals, vision checkups, eyeglasses, mammograms, information on H1N1 flu prevention and more.

"With this health fair, we want to help the community first," said Helping Hands co-founder Janice Morris, pointing out that the stress of the economy was taking a toll on many people’s health. "We want to reassure Rockdale County that the health care clinic is here for them and we will continue to service them," said co-founder Tolbert Morris.

The fair is sponsored by local businesses and hospitals such as Q-Clinical Inc., Rockdale Medical Center, AT&T, Sam’s Wholesales, A Special Boutique and Walgreens. State and local elected officials have been invited to answer questions on health concerns, said Morris.

The Helping Hands clinic will also be recognized on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. with a public service award — an honor that went to two out of five free clinics in the state, said Morris. State Senator Ronald Ramsey nominated the clinic for the award, said Morris.

The clinic, which started out four years ago with around 18 patients a week, now sees about 53 patients a week. The volunteer staff of 16 now includes one MD, two physician assistants, four registered nurses, two lab technicians and two translators.

The most recent addition was family practitioner Dr. Hope Mitchell.

The clinic is open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and on the first and third Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Helping Hands is in need of volunteers, particularly from the medical fields, said Janice Morris, such as physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, and lab technicians, along with non-medical volunteers.

"If you give two hours a month or even two hours a year, it will help someone with their healthcare needs," she said, adding that volunteers were key to providing effective service to patients.

"Our goal is to give patients their appointment within two weeks, not two months," said Tolbert Morris. "It becomes obsolete if you cannot help them in a timely manner."

For more information, call 770-860-9545 or visit