Rochester church hosts post-Thanksgiving event, offers COVID-19 vaccines

Community Events

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Advocates in Rochester are encouraging vaccination in creative ways. One of those events took place at St. Michael’s Church on Sunday with a post-Thanksgiving, holiday-themed event for the community. The church gave away free meals and provided the community with an opportunity to get their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or get their booster vaccines.

Organizers said the neighborhood is in desperate need of this kind of outreach — and the church is a great way to make a difference. VIP StarNetwork provided the vaccination services.

“We don’t know a lot about this virus so we want to prepare as best as we can,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Fauci said preparing as best we can means getting vaccinated, and getting boosted if you’re eligible. Governor Kathy Hochul is also pushing for more people to consider getting their booster shot.

In Rochester today, a clinic at St. Michael’s Church on North Clinton aims to combine some vaccine outreach -with holiday cheer.

“We are doing the Johnson, the Pfizer, and the Moderna,” organizer Luis Lespier said.

Lespier said St. Michael’s is an ideal place to do this kind of outreach — it’s situated in an area where vaccination rates are particularly low.

“In this area it’s a lot of poverty it’s a lot of drug use, people that are homeless and things like that so we prepare a dinner just for them,” Lespier said. “We are also trying to make sure people get vaccinated.”

Rudy Rivera is a parishioner and helped organize the event. Rivera agrees with Lespier and said it’s a way of looking out for the neighborhood.

“I have seen the consequences of death too much on Clinton avenue whether from overdoses or murders or for that matter,” Rivera said. “The reason that we do the vaccine is that we have a duty to protect our people and we are the messengers.”

St. Michael’s Church was in danger of closing for several months – due to declining attendance and financial difficulties. It’s still standing strong now, and Rivera said the holiday party was a perfect example of more community-based events he wants to run in this church – to really reach youth or those who may be struggling.

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