In an effort to connect with the community and raise a bit of money to help high school grads, newly minted Merritt resident Krista Minar is organizing a free health fair on Saturday (Feb. 3).

“I just moved here in August with my family and I think there’s no better way to figure out what your community’s made of than throwing an event like this,” Minar told the Herald.

From 9 a.m. to noon, multiple organizations will be gathered at the civic centre showcasing products and services that contribute to a healthy lifestyle followed by a three hour fitness challenge between 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

By coming together in a single location, residents will be able to explore the various health and wellness services available in Merritt, a press release from Minar stated.

The 30-year-old fitness trainer said the event is meant to inspire positive body image and break down stereotypes.

“I think if you make fitness fun and you make it about being you and doing things that you enjoy then that’s great,” said Minar.

The fitness challenge will involve back-to-back workout classes, including dance, yoga, barre and kickboxing.

Proceeds from the fair’s vendors and participants in the fitness challenge will be put towards providing a $1,000 scholarship that will be offered to students of this year’s high school graduation class, Minar said.

Any funds raised beyond the $1,000 goal will be donated to the local food bank. At the moment Minar has raised about $825.

Applicants to the scholarship will be asked to write an essay that answers ‘why do they love their bodies and why is that important?’

“The hope is that they have an opportunity to think about that before they enter the big, scary world,” Minar said.

Minar, a mother of three and volunteer firefighter, offered the scholarship last year while living in Jasper, Alta. as a way to give back to the community. With Merritt being her family’s home now it’s important to do the same here, she said.

“It’s important for our kids to see that,” she said. “Merritt is going to be permanent for us and I want our kid to grow up with that sense of finding their own way to give back.”