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SWLR shot clinic a paragon of efficiency

Get ready and experience the smooth sailing experience at Saturday’s Immunization Clinic in Little Rock’s most diverse neighborhood. Staff from the South West Community Center have trained here, having held similar events at least three times before. And satisfying young and old, English and Spanish speakers, is part of their daily life.

Also of note: Saturday marked the 15th COVID-19 shooting clinic Little Rock City director Joan Adcock helped plan and execute. Adcock made steady and continuous rounds through the community center to supervise, rolling from the check-in desk, to the paperwork station, to the medical floor set up in the gymnasium, then down the back hallway to a room where Central Arkansas Water was helping their customers connect to a federal program to maintain water despite arrears.

About 10 people signed up for federal financial assistance on water bills during the first hour of the four-hour event. With the end of the pandemic-related moratorium on water cuts, customers who have fallen behind on their bills in recent years can tap into this pot of federal funding to get out of the hole, Central Arkansas Water Director of Government Affairs Chelsea Boozer Explain. Each household can receive up to $2,000.

A vaccination clinic at the Southwest Community Center last month drew 382 takers, Warden of Lee Couch III Institution said. All starters in this event were due for their second shot. And with the 1,000 flyers about the event posted around the neighborhood, plus some buzz on social media, organizers were expecting around 500 this time around. “There is such demand. That’s why we’re doing it again,” Couch said.

The high demand makes sense, given the summer spike in infection rates and the first day of school for most students in the city just weeks away. Anyone not swayed by the health threat might have been drawn to the $50 gift cards that came with each shot, paid for by federal pandemic relief funds.

CHI St. Vincent led the clinical portions of the shooting clinic, and a representative of the Arkansas Central Library System warded off boredom during the required 15-minute waiting period after shoots with a resource board filled with coloring books, stickers, and pamphlets about SNAP benefits and library programming. Another dropped neat packets of information about the city’s mileage election, but no pressure.

Throughout, a team of 30 volunteers wearing matching t-shirts directed the heavy foot traffic with calm and precision. Translators were apparently waiting around every corner, ready to overcome language barriers. A group of returning volunteersincluding some young people from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, provided such friendly and smooth customer service that I was surprised we didn’t get Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the end.

COVID continues to drag on and everyone is sick of it, but it’s good to ditch the panic and disorganization of the early days of the pandemic for well-thought-out clinics with proven systems in place.

The next big event at the Southwest Community Center will take place on August 20, when the intriguing name Big Homie Foundation will lead a Love Walk at 10:15 a.m., followed by the Southwest Day at 11 a.m. Love walkers are asked to bring positive and friendly signs for the short walk. “We want to show unity and solidarity” Derick Wilson, member of the Big Homie Foundation Explain. Visit the Southwest Community Center at 6401 Baseline Rd. on August 20 for a pool party, haircuts, food and bouncy houses, all free.

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