Local immigrant-serving organizations hosting back-to-school resource fair with free food, school supplies, and COVID-19 vaccination clinic
CHAMPAIGN, IL — Six local organizations are hosting a resource fair at the end of the month to support immigrant and refugee families with the transition into a new school year.
The Immigrant Back-to-School Resource Fair will be held on July 31, 2021 from 1:00 – 5:00PM at Crystal Lake Park by the Anita Purves Center. The fair will offer free food and school supplies, community resources, and a vaccination clinic with the goals of (1) kicking off the school year with a bang and (2) fighting vaccine hesitancy.
The First Presbyterian Church of Champaign, New American Welcome Center at the University Y, The Refugee Center, Immigrant Services of Champaign Urbana, Champaign County Healthcare Consumers, and Pixan Konob’ Interpreter Services first gathered together in December 2020 with the shared goal of responding to public health inequities. Together, they make up the Champaign County COVID-19 Immigrant Cooperative.
COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on Champaign County, where every 1 in 9 residents is an immigrant and as many as a third of immigrants live in poverty. The pandemic disproportionately affects immigrants, with undocumented or mixed-status families among the hardest hit. Studies indicate that immigrant populations are more than twice as likely to become infected in countries like the United States, and vaccination rates continue to lag for communities of color.
This is where the Immigrant Back-to-School Resource Fair comes in, which will offer:
● Walk-in vaccination clinic in partnership with the C-U Public Health District, and;
● 20+ community organizations to provide information and resources to families on-site, including Champaign Unit 4 School District, Parkland College, and Carle Hospital, and;
● Free food from Kona Ice and Maize Mexican Grill for the first 300 people, and;
● Free school supplies for the first 300 people.
As Jeanette Pyne, ESL Director of the First Presbyterian Church and one of the lead event organizers, put it: “Our overall goal with this event is to serve the immigrant community through providing access to essential resources like the COVID-19 vaccine, a free meal, and free school supplies. We will create an inviting and safe space to learn more about the vaccine and share how the pandemic has impacted us all.”
Interested in supporting the fair? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to get involved.