SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Seminole County teamed up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida at a pop-up vaccination site in East Altamonte Springs Wednesday.
Connie Mcmillon-Thomas, a nurse with the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County, was helping to get people vaccinated at the event.
“A lot of people who displayed hesitancy, in the beginning, are beginning to come out and receive their vaccines,” McMillon-Thomas said. “This area of Altamonte is underserved and we came out to reach the underserved population, whereby they would have easy access to obtaining their vaccine. People are more comfortable in their ‘native environment.’ We have a large senior population out here in Altamonte and a lot of them don’t travel too far outside of the community, don’t have access to technology.”
And it’s a win-win situation for those in the area who struggle to put food on the table. The COVID-19 vaccination site was set up next to the Apostolic Church of Jesus on 444 Ford Drive where a food drive took place.
“To take it a step further with the vaccine really helps us to be able to care for an underserved community. A community that may not have the ability to stop and research where they get the vaccine or to stop in the middle of their workday to go get it,” Dan Samuels, director of philanthropy with Second Harvest Food Bank said. “Health is directly correlated to food and we know that; when you don’t eat healthy foods — produce, meats — your body is going to react and you’re going to get sick from it.”
According to Second Harvest, the event helped about 200 families with fresh produce and meats — enough food to last them for at least 2 weeks.
“That’s why we’re here. We’re able to give that food out for free so that these families can focus on everything else that’s going on around them,” Samuels said.
For Mcmillon-Thomas, it’s not just about helping save lives but giving back to her community.
“I’m also helping to educate people of color about the importance of getting this vaccine,” she said. “I have received a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know if they can walk in and my answer is yes.”
On May 19, the COVID-19 vaccination site will be back at the Apostolic Church of Jesus in East Altamonte to administer the second dose of the Pfizer shots.