On Friday, March 19, Piedmont Access to Health Services (PATHS) held a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination and food distribution event at the Salvation Army in Danville.
At the event, University of Lynchburg School of PA Medicine students distributed vaccines to individuals, with enough supply to give nearly 400 first doses.
According to PATHS CEO Marsha Mendenhall, the organization had a supply of Moderna vaccines they wanted to use, so they partnered with Feeding Southwest Virginia and organized a clinic with food distribution within two days. The event was originally by appointment only.
“When we went through our [registration] list, we realized so many people had already gotten their shot, so we sent out a blast to our patients to come and opened it up to walk-ins,” Mendenhall said.
With this event, PATHS Director of Community Programs Shani Gaylord hoped to “eliminate a barrier” for the surrounding community, as walk-ins were great for this community and so many people already visit the Salvation Army for their feeding program.
Feeding Southwest Virginia offered 420 non-perishable food boxes, as well as offered resources to the community about SNAP benefits.
According to Rita Pruitt, director of agency partnerships for the organization, they have a grant specifically for Danville, in which they hope to be able to bring even more food boxes and fresh foods to the community eventually.
She called Friday’s event a “one stop shop” for the community, with vaccines, food boxes and community resources such as Haven of the Dan River Region on site with information.
“It’s great for the community to come together and provide different benefits to the people coming in,” Mendenhall said. “You never know what someone is going through so we have everybody else here too.”
PATHS will hold another event in four weeks so those vaccinated Friday can receive second doses.
As of March 13, PATHS had given approximately 4,700 COVID-19 vaccinations throughout their service area, which includes Danville, Pittsylvania County, Martinsville, South Boston and Boydton. With a supply of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, Mendenhall hopes to be able to use more of that one-dose vaccine at PATHS.