Children gather to play with the lawn checkers game during the Healthy Block Party on Westwood Drive Thursday afternoon. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Children gather to play with the lawn checkers game during the Healthy Block Party on Westwood Drive Thursday afternoon. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
BY SHERRY MISSLER

DHI Media Staff Writer

smissler@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT — Even though it was after 5 p.m. on Thursday, the parking lot near Community Health Professionals on Westwood Drive was filled — but not with cars — with people. It was all part of a Healthy Block Party hosted by Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio, Van Wert County General Health District, and Westwood Behavioral.

Other businesses and agencies also participated in the event. Kim Mason, the event coordinator for CHP Home Care and Hospice, said, “We are promoting our flu shot clinics which will be coming up in October. We also have several other things that are coming up, like our Senior Citizen Day at the Fair that we are sponsoring with all types of different programs going on. Our Apple Festival 5K race is coming up in October as well so we have information on that also. We are giving free blood pressure checks today. We are happy to be part of this.” Children were attracted to the CHP table to play with the lawn checkers and Kerplunk game.

Easton Jay, one of the youngsters, said simply, “It’s fun!”

Mark Verville with Westwood Behavioral Health said, “We’re promoting what we do with Westwood Behavioral, some of the services we offer — we have a nice anti-bullying app. We are focusing on conversation starters, questions in a box, to get people to talking a little bit more. People don’t talk as much as they did in the past.”

Linda Sidle, checking out the activities, spoke on her and her husband’s reason for being at the event. “Our daughter works for Family Health Care so we just came out to look around, support them a little bit.”

Chuck Kroeger said, “I’m looking for some healthy ideas so I can lose some weight.”

Jeanette Ford, Van Wert County Health Department Administrator, said, “I think the event went very well for our first year. We had a wide range of age groups attending. Lots of young children came and the bounce house was a big hit with them as well as the face painting, chalk art and hula hoop contest — all kinds of fun and healthy activities for them to do. We had families, we had teen-agers, we had seniors.”

Ford said she didn’t know how many people came but she was pleased with the turnout, so pleased in fact that consideration is being given to hosting a Healthy Block Party next year. “I think because it was such a hit and I heard such positive feedback — not just from the attendees but also the businesses that participated in it — I think that we will definitely look into doing this again next year. Maybe it will be a little bit bigger and we’ll pull in some more businesses along our route.”