Tuesday, March 9th was a special day at Shepherd’s Table, as 132 clients, meal guests and a few volunteers received Covid-19 vaccinations in our dining room. The pop-up vaccination clinic was successful, with palpable excitement in the room as clients waited their turn. With the team effort of multiple nonprofit organizations, County agencies, and community members, we achieved the vaccination of several members of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach population.
Shepherd’s Table is grateful for the partnership of all that made the day possible.
First and foremost, Kim Ball and our partners at Montgomery County’s Services to End and Prevent Homelessness (SEPH), Mark Madaleno Hodge and Montgomery County Health and Human Services that planned over the weekend to make the clinic possible. Daisy Lukose and her team from the Health Department worked quickly to mobilize their resources to prioritize our clients’ vaccination. Several experienced volunteer nurses came out to support the day’s mission, and spent the day patiently vaccinating our meal guests and clients. The staff at both Shepherd’s Table and Interfaith Works informed and educated clients about the clinic. They also assisted during the day with translation, information, and moral support. Shepherd’s Table Board members Dr. Helaine Resnick and Suzanne Mintz advocated for the use of Shepherd’s Table’s dining room, located in a County building, and familiar to the population the County was trying to reach.
It wasn’t an easy feat, but a successful day achieved with partnership, collaboration, and a strong desire to save lives.
All that wanted to get vaccinated- whether they were a shelter resident or meal guest, were able to do so. For those that missed it, we are hopeful for another opportunity to repeat the pop up clinic.
The day’s success was proof that Shepherd’s Table’s mission to welcome all for meals and access to social services provided with compassion and respect, led to a high level of trust from its clients and meal guests. The community we serve is a little bit safer and cared for. With this approach, we can work together to help solve some of the community’s most intractable challenges.
Shepherd’s Table’s Executive Director Manny Hidalgo shared, “I lost my brother Patrick to COVID-19 last year and ever since, I’ve been relentlessly committed to getting everyone vaccinated against this deadly disease. To be able to reach so many of whom my brother often referred to as “the least and the lost,” was a blessing of immeasurable proportions. Going forward, we will continue to vaccinate as many people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity as possible, which number over 80,000 people in Montgomery County. We have our work cut out for us, but by continuing to work collaboratively and getting multiple stakeholders rowing in the same direction, there is no river too wide for this community to cross. Together we’ll make this happen.”