First annual ‘Day of Hope’ held at Orangeburg County Fairgrounds

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Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 6:59 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Palmetto Palace Mobile Health Clinic teamed with Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg to host a community health event at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds Saturday.

The event provided all three brands of the free COVID-19 vaccine to people who wanted one and providers say more than 160 people received a vaccine.

Representatives from state departments and local healthcare and education providers set up booths to educate Orangeburg County residents about available community resources.

Sergeant Aqkwela Polidore of the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety says the event served as a one-stop shop for rural community members.

“A lot of times, people aren’t aware of their resources,” said Polidore. “So, to be able to have all of these resources here in a central location for people to take advantage of, it’s a great opportunity.”

The event offered free music and attractions for children, library resources, blood pressure checks, blood donation opportunities, and vaccine education and administration from local healthcare providers.

Law enforcement provided demonstrations with helicopters and police vehicles, while the Department of Motor Vehicles provided Real IDs for those who registered.

Representative Cobb-Hunter says the family event helps community members develop connections with healthcare providers and community leaders in a comfortable environment while also educating underserved rural communities about the vaccine.

“We can’t have one approach. We’ve got to think outside of the box, and we’ve got to take the vaccine to people,” says Rep. Cobb-Hunter.

Fernando Soto, a Spanish language journalist with Nuestro Estado, says oftentimes rural populations that do not speak English are highly underserved in terms of healthcare education and access.

He says the Latino community holds an important position in the agricultural economy and wellbeing of South Carolina. Soto adds that it is our job as community members to make sure all neighbors, regardless of origin or language, are aware of community resources and events.

“It’s particularly important because they’re also one of the hardest hit during this COVID-19 pandemic, so we want to make sure we’re reaching all the folks, not just those that live in highly concentrated areas,” said Soto.

Dr. Youlanda Gibbs, Executive Director of Palmetto Palace, says her idea for the ‘Day of Hope’ came together in the past three weeks, although she has wanted to do a vaccination clinic in rural Orangeburg County for quite a while.

“Why not Orangeburg?” asked Gibbs. “Today we’re all on the same page to provide vaccines to help our community and our state to lessen all of the coronavirus cases.”

Gibbs and Rep. Cobb-Hunter are excited by today’s turnout and will host another vaccination site at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds on August 6 from 8am to 5pm.

Gibbs says she is already planning next year’s ‘Day of Hope’ on July 16, 2022.

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