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Local organization brings vaccines, job opportunities to Northside

Organizers said they hoped to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to those without transportation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Quench the Violence and Agape Family Health teamed up on Friday afternoon to hold an event with two purposes: Getting people vaccinated and back to work.

The COVID-19 vaccine clinic was held at the Christian Fellowship Baptist Church on Edgewood Ave. Robert Lecount, CEO of Quench the Violence, said he chose the location for convenience.

“We try to bring it closer to the community where some folks may have a lack of transportation,” Lecount said.

Carolyn Kirkland said seeing Agape Family Health’s bus in her neighborhood reminded her that she was due for her second shot.

“I’m a medical professional, if I don’t take it how do I expect my patients and coworkers to? You have to lead by example,” Kirkland said.

Another person vaccinated at the clinic said his job at a funeral home convinced him to get the shot. Kevin Covert is an embalmer and said most of the people he has worked on recently died of the coronavirus.

“It seems like COVID doesn’t care about age or health,” Covert said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 2,345 people have died from coronavirus over the last seven days. News4Jax records show that is the most deaths added in a week-long period since the pandemic began.

Covert said his family has also been affected by the virus.

“I’ve had quite a few family members pass away from COVID and I know the stress and grief it causes families,” Covert said.

Several Jacksonville councilmembers stopped by the event. Councilman Reggie Gaffney handed out Walmart gift cards to people getting their vaccination at the clinic. City Council President Sam Newby was also there, encouraging people to get vaccinated ahead of Labor Day.

“We have to get more people vaccinated, it’s our key to getting on the other side of this,” Newby said.

In addition to getting a dose of the vaccine, people in the community could learn about job opportunities through Quench the Violence’s Rework program.

“You’re trying to get them to stop selling drugs. Well they ask, ‘What can I do in place of that?’” Lecount said. “Well, now we have something to offer them called Rework, change your mind, get a better paying job.”

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.