The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health experts stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination to help stop the pandemic that has caused more than a half-million deaths nationwide and upended our lives and the economy.
The monumental job of getting the vaccine into arms of millions of people is now underway. Locally, a cadre of volunteers has answered the call of public service to assist the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) in the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine in Genesee County.
The more than 200 people who are volunteering on a frequent basis represent a cross-section of our community, including active and retired physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and medical and nursing students. Nonmedical volunteers are also donating valuable hours to help provide clerical and logistical support for the massive effort, including students (who must be at least 18 years), secretaries, retirees and other dedicated citizens.
This community has shown time and again that when the need is great so, too, is the generosity of our citizens. That includes the commitment of many of our small businesses – restaurants, in this case – who are supporting the volunteer effort by providing meals for the workers. It is such a critical piece of the puzzle when you stop to think about it.
Good nutrition is essential to ensure the volunteer staff can operate continuously at a high-level while working long hours to inoculate the public.
And now, another layer of support has been added. Last week, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant to the Genesee Chamber Foundation to provide meals to volunteers and healthcare workers staffing Genesee County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine sites.
Restaurants have been devastated by the pandemic. Yet these businesses continue to help those who are doing so much to help us all. The Mott Foundation grant makes it a little easier for restaurants to keep preparing and delivering meals for the vaccine clinics’ volunteers.
It’s heartwarming to see so many in our community pitching in to get us through a very difficult period. That includes our community of volunteers, the commitment of our area restaurants who support them, and organizations like the Mott Foundation that champion their efforts.
We are all in this together and we will get through this together.
If you are interested in volunteering at a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, please visit www.gchd.us/covid19volunteer to apply.
Tim Herman is the CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.