CALLAHAN, Fla. – Sulzbacher is helping people in underserved communities in Northeast Florida receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
On Monday, Sulzbacher’s Healthmobile rolled into the Northeast Florida Fairgrounds in Nassau County as part of its effort on wheels to vaccinate members of the community. At the same time, Barnabas and Feeding Northeast Florida hosted their monthly food drive, creating a one-stop shop for people to get food and the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are seeing a decline in the need for food, but we’re happy about that,” said Renee Stoffel, with Barnabas.
Nearly 115 cars stopped for food -- including Charles Avery, a Navy veteran and Nassau County resident who was one of several people waiting in line hours before the food drive started.
“It keeps my budget in tack. I don’t have to spend extra money on stuff that I need,” Avery said.
Those who received food also had the opportunity to receive the vaccine inside Healthmobile, but only two people did that. The two who were vaccinated each got a $15 gift card to Winn-Dixie.
“A lot of the people we are trying to reach have different barriers that are going to prevent them from getting the vaccine, so they don’t have transportation, they don’t have access to the internet, cellphone,” said Eileen Briggs, Sulzbacher’s chief development officer. “What we’re really trying to do is reach those pockets of people who are having trouble to get the vaccine, they don’t have access to the information or transportation, so we’re going to bring it to them.”
News4Jax asked Briggs about low turnouts.
“It says we just need to keep getting into those little pockets and bring the vaccine to where those people are, so if we set up these sites and people aren’t able to come, we really need to double down and get into those pockets within the community that really need the vaccine,” Briggs said.
The next stop as part of Sulzbacher’s mobile vaccination effort will be at 1800 Mayport Road with Mayport and Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. That event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Another mobile vaccination event is set for 10 a.m. Thursday at Sulzbacher Village at 5455 Springfield Blvd., in conjunction with Feeding Northeast Florida’s mobile food pantry.
There will be another event with Barnabus in Fernandina Beach at noon May 25.
And there will be another event at Sulzbacher Village beginning at 9 a.m. May 28.
Sulzbacer’s vaccination program is funded by federal pandemic relief money that was granted to community health centers across the country to serve at-risk populations.
Residents of other local homeless shelters, such as The Salvation Army and Trinity Rescue Mission, will be among those receiving vaccinations through the program.