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Mobile soup kitchens deliver vaccines and free meals to Detroit's underprivileged neighborhoods

The Salvation Army through their Bed & Bread Club is providing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to the poorest people in Detroit.

Mobile soup kitchens deliver vaccines and free meals to Detroit's underprivileged neighborhoods
Image Source: Getty Images/Morsa Images/Representative

Things are finally looking up and the end of the pandemic seems to be right around the corner at least in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that more than half of all American adults have now gotten at least one vaccine dose, reports NPR. Even though America has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, there are still many states that have to catch up. The Salvation Army has come to the rescue in Detroit, which currently has only 33 percent of the population vaccinated. Through the Bed & Bread Club, they are ensuring the poorest people in the state get food as well as the jab.



The Salvation Army parked its Bed & Bread truck in one of Detroit's poorest regions, stocked with big hot dogs and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to the representatives from the Bed & Bread Club, the trucks also have nurses as part of their team to administer the vaccines to the people. This approach is making vaccines accessible to some of the poorest in the city who may have otherwise not prioritized getting the vaccine at all. Keenon Carreker was one of these people who approached the mobile kitchen for food and stayed for the vaccine as well.



"It helped being right here in my neighborhood," the 52-year old man who left with his meal, as well as his first dose of the vaccine, told Associated Press. Carreker, like many others. was in no hurry to get the vaccine. Similarly, Kenneth West also came to the truck for a meal was also administered the vaccine. "I wasn’t going to get it at all. I don’t like needles," said West who is now the recipient of one of the 45 doses the Salvation Army was responsible for administering in the past four weeks through the program. The Salvation Army is working with Central City Integrated Health and Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services to take vaccines to the people.



This is in line with Detroit's new strategy of sending teams door-to-door throughout neighborhoods to promote walk-in sites to boost vaccination numbers. "We are knocking on doors because we want to get the word about our walk-in locations and make it easy for everyone to take advantage of these life-saving vaccines," Detroit Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair said, according to Modern Healthcare. There have been more than 47,600 COVID-19 cases and over 2,000 deaths in Detroit since the start of the pandemic. The state of Michigan has recorded 849,420 total cases and almost 17,800 deaths.



"The timing and the need could not be greater," said Jamie Winkler, The Salvation Army’s Eastern Michigan Harbor Light System executive director. While Carreker and West were unaware of the possibility of being vaccinated at the mobile kitchen, the truck's next stop had an eager Apolonio Mata waiting for the vaccine. Mata was advised by his doctor and encouraged by a friend to get the vaccine. His friend also let him know that the truck would be carrying the vaccine. "They’re not scared (of getting vaccinated)," he said. "A majority of people who live in this building don’t have transportation."


On the other hand, lillye Neal, a registered nurse with Central City Integrated Health has come across another set of people who were not as forthcoming. "Generally, when you find groups of homeless people, when the main person says 'no, we don’t take the vaccine,' everyone seems to follow suit," Neal noted. "But then we’re running across those people who are appreciative that we’re out here because they don’t have transportation. They don’t have a way to get to the vaccine." Second doses will be available when the trucks return to the neighborhoods. Those who can’t make it to the trucks can visit the Central City Integrated Health facility for the vaccine.


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