ROANOKE, Va. – COVID-19 is affecting Latinx families at an alarming rate, but outreach efforts in Roanoke are helping combat the pandemic.
With Spanish music, Latin cuisine and even a soccer game organized, local agencies interacted with Latinx one-on-one at the Hispanic Health Fair.
More than a dozen vendor tents stood in Roanoke’s Thrasher Park on Sunday, highlighting local health resources available for Spanish speakers.
“We try to help more of the Spanish speakers because when they go look for resources it’s hard for the language,” said Yomaly Henriquez, with the Bradley Free Clinic “And we want to help [make sure] that they receive our service.”
Henriquez was hired through a grant by Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. In just three months, she has helped 230 Spanish-speaking patients in the community.
With many Latinx families living near Thrasher park, it was important to reach the families in their own neighborhoods.
“It means a lot because being here, they know where the park is,” Wildwood Civic League President Chris Craft said. “It’s a centralized location. They don’t have to go to the pharmacy and wait. They can come here.”
Taking that to heart, a line formed outside the picnic shelter for people who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine.
Councilwoman Vivian Sanchez-Jones said outreach efforts like this have helped 70% of the Latinx in the Roanoke Valley receive at least one dose.
“We had a wonderful turnout especially since it was not advertised for very long,” she said. “But it’s come together very well.”
Coming from large families and working while sick, Sanchez-Jones said these are two of the main factors as to why Latinx families are more susceptible to the virus spread.
But to keep them out of the hospitals, Roanoke will continue to host outreach events.