The Calm Before the COVID-19
The Community Hub corner-stores are expanding our providers with a lot of interactive events like one, Project Best, NJ Commission for the Blind. This service offers free eye exams at our corner stores that can provide free glasses! We have also added Assurance Wireless, a great Federal Service that provides cell phones for eligible low-income residents with free monthly data, unlimited texting, and free monthly minutes with a free phone. There has been a lot of interaction with these two services that benefits community members in different ways.
In addition to expanding our providers, we are also doing CENSUS 2020 education. We are providing information on how to complete the survey safely and conveniently, the importance of participating, and what questions are being asked on the questionnaire.
With all the successes we are having with these events, language barriers present an ongoing challenge. Vineland has a large Spanish-speaking population, and not all of our providers have the bilingual staff needed to communicate their services. We are developing a solution with Rowan University’s Dr. Spencer, the coordinator for Rowan’s Health Promotion and Wellness program. The hope is to find bilingual students who are interested in the Community Health field who would like to volunteer their time to help translate at these events. This would count towards the students’ Professional Development Hours (a requirement for them to graduate). Within minutes of a call to action being sent out by Dr. Spencer, we received an email from a bilingual student who is a Vineland resident interested in translating!
While we work on overcoming one barrier, the Community Hub has faced the biggest barrier yet: COVID-19. This has caused us to halt our scheduled providers at our corner stores as of March 15th. While we had to stop our regular events, we did get the opportunity to send our Public Health Nurse out to corner stores to answer questions and inform people about COVID-19 before the state issued the stay home order.
Overall, COVID-19 has impacted the fundamentals of what Community Hub is; however, we are not letting this shut us down completely. We are reaching out to our providers asking if they have any “virtual” services that they can provide for our community. Inspira Quit Connection center (smoking cessation) has offered a virtual 6-week quit group session for eligible participants, which is now promoted on the Community Hub’s Facebook page. We are also doing our part to help flatten the curve by giving tips about social distancing and general information about COVID-19 via the Community Hub’s Facebook. While we cannot physically be there for the community of Vineland, we can virtually be there for the community of Vineland!
About the Grantee
The Community Hub creates a point of access for resources like health services, financial services, vision screenings, education programs, and many more services. With this, we can provide the community of Vineland a place that is convenient and easily accessible while improving lives all in a local corner-store.