HOLYOKE — OneHolyoke Community Development Corp. (CDC) received an additional round of funding from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Grants Program, which is administered by Health Resources in Action in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The purpose is to provide education and resources about the COVID vaccine to Holyoke residents and continued education about mitigation strategies.
With this renewed funding, OneHolyoke CDC is taking COVID vaccine education on the road, hosting a series of outdoor and livestreamed events throughout the city where individuals can have their questions about the vaccine answered by healthcare providers.
OneHolyoke CDC has also hired staff to give out PPE and educational resources at several Holyoke locations, including door-to-door outreach. A designated web page on OneHolyoke CDC’s website, www.oneholyoke.org/stay-safe-holyoke, provides resources, blogs, and videos for the community, along with links to find out where to get the vaccine and where to get tested for COVID.
The public information campaign is concentrated on predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, including the Flats, South Holyoke, Churchill, and downtown, to address the disproportionate spread of the virus among communities of color. Outreach materials are shared in both English and Spanish at in-person tabling locations at community outlets in the Latinx-majority neighborhoods of Holyoke and on OneHolyoke CDC’s social media and website.
The COVID-19 Community Grant was awarded to OneHolyoke CDC to engage the Holyoke community by developing and delivering effective messages, and offer further support to the hard-hit community with education, training, and outreach to effectively meet Holyoke’s specific needs.
“With the support of our trained, diverse staff out in the community referring and sharing experiences with the vaccine, our goal is to increase the number of vaccinated Holyoke residents,” said Nayroby Rosa-Soriano, director of Community Engagement and Resident Services for OneHolyoke CDC. “We are pivoting our strategies and figuring out creative ways to educate our community to get vaccinated.”
The focus of the first round of funding from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Grant was to provide education to Holyoke residents in order to prevent and reduce the continuing spread and rise of COVID. Now that vaccines are more readily available, this new round of funding will focus on educating Holyoke residents about the vaccine and where they can get vaccinated.