In response to COVID-19, Northgate Market has once again demonstrated their creativity and leadership to support the health and well-being of community members and store associates alike. We saw the barriers low income communities were facing on educational resources and vaccines in Southern California. Using Northgate grocery stores as health portals for our associates and the community to get vaccinated was a convenience and lifesaving need.
In recognition of the need to protect the health of its customers and the health of its associates, Northgate Market created an internal Covid Vaccination Committee. The main goal of the committee was to provide bilingual education, resources and vaccination events to associates and community members.
Northgate Markets partnered with county public health departments, health care providers, city and county government programs and nonprofits in making appointments for over 2,000 Northgate associates at in January through April of this year.
By March of this year we started to host vaccination clinics at our stores and our distribution center for both Northgate associates and community members. Promoted at a grassroots level in stores, social media and county public health websites.
From March to current we have hosted over 150 vaccine clinics at our stores, helping provide over 8,000 vaccines for community members. In addition, we hosted over 100 outreach table events at store level to provide free PPE, volunteers helping make appointments for vaccine events near committee members home, rent relief assistance and behavioral health resources during this same timeframe.
Northgate Market provided 8 hours of pay for associates to get vaccination. For senior citizen associates we offered Uber/Lift transportation to their appointments. Met up with them at hospitals to make sure they found their way to vaccine clinic areas. Created in-store bilingual radio spots to educated on vaccines, gave hotline numbers. Partnered with CalOptima healthcare for PSA videos for local TV in Spanish speaking message with our Co-CEO Miguel Gonzalez, trusted leader in the community on importance to get vaccinated. Video: https://www.facebook.com/CalOptima/videos/288726056198963/ Partnered with nonprofit PSA bilingual videos with our 3rd generation family members Joshua and Andrea Gonzalez, importance for all to get vaccinated including our youth population. Partners and matched incentives from $10 to $25 gift cards to Northgate when vaccinated in the community and or at our store level. Partnered with CA state level public health department to provide free tacos to community members vaccinated at our Northgate store level. Partnered with county health doctor for in-person “Charlas”, chats to answer questions and concerns from both associates and community members. Donated 1,000s of water bottles, snacks to community members being vaccinated and staff providing vaccines. Donated lunches to 100’s of volunteers and clinic staff working to get community vaccinated.
The main goal of the committee was to provide bilingual education, resources and vaccination events to associates and community members. Only three of our 42 grocery stores have community clinics inside of stores. We needed to partner with other partners to help get our associates and community members vaccinated, organized over 150 vaccine clinics from March to current. In addition we organized over 100 outreach events that including handing out PPE, making appointments for vaccine events near committee members home, rent relief assistance and behavioral health resources for youth and adults. Northgate couldn't ignore the pandemic, needed to do part to help as a community health portal, its the companies commitment for the wellness of the communities we serve. Help make it easy for our coworkers and community to have access to vaccine events in our stores. As well as helping both associates and community make appointments at other near by locations in the following days with outreach events at store level.
Our Covid Vaccine Committee helped over 2,000 Northgate associates make their vaccine appointments. Focused on associate senior citizens due to their tier opening first. Once essential workers tier opened, we offered resources and appointments for any associate. In addition, we provided resources and appointments for associate family members. Partnered with multiple county public health programs and health providers to provide over 150 vaccine clinics at Northgate Market stores. Community could do appointments with QR codes found at registers and or we accepted walk-ins, walk-ins were most popular. In some locations during the summer we provided evening events to help those who work late to be able to have easy access as well. From these events at our stores we were able to help over 8,000 community members get vaccinated in low-income communities. Due to the success rates on vaccine events in our stores we have partnerships for these efforts through early 2022 at store level. Northgate has long standing relationship with San Diego County Public Health Department. The county of San Diego offered Northgate 750 vaccines for a drive through two-day vaccine event weekend before vaccines opened for essential workers. This would help them prepare themselves for opening a large vaccine drive through program for months to come. Northgate accepted the opportunity which gave us 2-3 days to organize our appointments with the county. This had many lessons learned by both organizations. We got Northgate bilingual associates to volunteer in helping coworkers get paperwork filled out. It was a successful 2-day event where 100’s of Northgate associates were vaccinated at the beginning of mega site location. Provided over 100 vaccine outreach events that including handing out PPE, making appointments for vaccine events near committee members home, rent relief assistance and behavioral health resources for youth and adults. In these educational events hundreds of vaccine appointments were made for community members. As well as “promotoras” health educators explained vaccine education in a simple easy way for community members. Northgate did annual back to school parking lot health fairs in giving students hundreds of free backpacks filled with school supplies, free haircuts, immunizations, dental and vision exams and Covid vaccines in July and August. Events were focused on vaccinating school age children.
“At Northgate Market, we believe we are all in this together and understand how critically important it is for our community to receive the Covid-19 vaccinations to protect themselves from hospitalization, serious illness, and death,” said Oscar Gonzalez, co-president of Northgate Market. “Our customers trust us, and we feel a responsibility to help them during this pandemic. The vaccination clinics held at our stores across Southern California in partnership with health organizations has been our top priority this past summer as part of our commitment to the wellness of the communities we serve.”
“From the start of the pandemic - partnerships with new and existing stakeholders has been critical in the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Center’s response to reducing and/or preventing the spread of COVID-19 amongst the vulnerable populations across Orange County. Ethnic markets, such as Northgate, continues to be an essential partner in the overall response to COVID-19- by proactively working with the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers to set-up clinics to provide vaccinations and education to their essential workers; family; and community members.” Isabel Becerra, President & CEO, Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers