Back to school & health fair

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- In a couple of weeks, some Valley kids will already be heading back to school. But that can be a big expense. 

That's why there is always such a huge turnout at the yearly Back to School and Health Fair, sponsored by the City of Phoenix. Along with the Latino Institute, the 11th annual event gives Valley families a hand-up, not a hand down.

Mother Judy Esqueda said the event is a blessing.

"It helps us a lot and we learn there are more activities and help out there," Esqueda said.

From free booster seats to free backpacks and school supplies, tons of items were given out to thousands of families Saturday at ASU Prep Academy in downtown Phoenix.

Esther Avila with the Latino Institute said they organize events like this all the time because there is such a need. It was free to anyone who showed up and visited the booths. 

Some 60 organizations offered information on afterschool programs, nutrition, education and school registration, among other things.

Folks also came for free health screenings, dental and visual check-ups, even hair cuts. Being ready to go back to class also means being up to date on immunizations.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health administered free vaccinations, so that every child is protected. For future events like this, contact the Latino Institute at 602-262-7424.