MILWAUKEE — The group Souls to the Polls, an organization that typically works to encourage people to vote, is now turning its attention to the fight against COVID-19. The Milwaukee organization is hosting a series of vaccine clinics at local churches.
"We want to make it available in our local churches. They can just walk down the street, walk around the corner, drive in a locality that they're used to. They'll feel welcome, and that's why we're doing this," said Souls to the Polls Executive Director Rev. Greg Lewis.
Organizers are targeting specific areas, like the 53206 zip code, where 93% of residents are African-American. It's also a community that has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Black residents are twice as likely to be hospitalized compared to their white counterparts.
"It's not just for you, but it's for all of us, so that we can have a healthy community and get as close to normal as we can," the Rev. Lewis said.
Souls to the Polls teamed up with several area churches, including Allen-Ebenezer on N. 19th St. There, the church doors have been closed for over a year.
"We have not been able to congregate and fellowship with one another," said Allen-Ebenezer Pastor Rev. Betty Blue.
Friday's vaccine clinic was the first event the church has held since the pandemic began.
"We're open today and we want you to know that you can come on out and get vaccinated," the Rev. Blue said.
Health Connections Inc. is also a partner in the initiative. CEO Erika Sinclair said these clinics are not only for people to get vaccinated, but also for those who are hesitant to receive information about the vaccine.
"We have trusted messengers here. Being in a church, a facility, being in the community, and being a part of the community, is very important for people to be able to access people that they trust, to give them the right information," Sinclair said.
There are several more vaccine clinics planned. For more information, click here.