Church spring festival comes with COVID cash incentive

Salem Bible Church was one of the first churches in DeKalb County to distribute free COVID-19 tests to the public. Church leaders partnered with Georgia community health officials several times over the last couple of years for testing and vaccination programs. But this Saturday, they're putting a different spin on their health initiative with their first Spring Jubilee Spring Fling in three years.

Organizers said it's the church's way of getting the congregation and the public comfortable with big community events after the coronavirus created a lifestyle of seclusion and socially distant interactions.

"It's exciting, but it's also bittersweet because we've lost a lot of our members to COVID," said church member Chats Spikes, who is one of the organizers of the free outdoor festival.

The event will include another round of COVID vaccine and boosters shots from the DeKalb Board of Health along with rapid COVID tests from Emory Healthcare. The first 250 people in line will receive a $100 gift cards. Organizers said the cards were made available with COVID-19 funds allocated to DeKalb County by the federal government. District 5 Commissioner Mereda Davis-Johnson secured the gift cards for the event.

Spikes said the church is poised to provide 300 doses of the doses of the vaccine.

"Whether you're getting a gift card or not, we want people to take advantage of the ability to get a vaccine because we don't want to bury anybody else from COVID. We know COVID comes in different variants, but we're just trying to find a way to help church families and the public get back to everyday life," said Spikes.

The Salem Bible church Jubilee Spring Fling will be held in the parking lot from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23. The church is located near Panola Road at 5460 Hillandale Drive.