Summer is the season for vacations and rest, but for many families in Richmond it can be a time of increased need and stress. According to Kidsdata.org, more than 20,000 children and teens (70% of K-12 students) are eligible to receive free or reduced price school meals in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. When many schools close their doors during summer break from mid-June to mid-August, children in low-income families are left without regular access to healthy food.
In response, the Richmond Library has partnered with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, California Summer Meal Coalition, and the California Library Association to provide summer meals to children and fresh produce to adults.
The Richmond Library joins a network of more than 100 other public libraries in California that have implemented Lunch at the Library programs. Learning from other library’s success, the Richmond Library is coupling meal distribution with health-promoting educational opportunities. Many children stay after lunchtime for the Library’s Summer Reading Heroes program, where volunteers, interns, and staff read with kids to prevent summer learning loss. In July, we will be starting a Digital Health Literacy class for parents with grant support from the California Library Association.
The Richmond Library’s main branch (325 Civic Center Plaza) provides lunch for children 0 to 18 years-old on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1pm. A complete list of the other summer meal sites in the West Contra Costa Unified School District is here, and a map of all sites in Contra Costa and Solano counties is here.
City of Richmond Staff and Community Partners are invited to attend a Health Information Training taking place on Thursday October 29th, and Friday, October 30th from 8:30am-12:30pm in the IT Training room at Richmond City Hall (450 Civic Center Plaza). The same training will be offered on both days to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to attend. Attendees will learn how to find reliable information online to help residents answer questions related to health conditions, health insurance, health services, and healthy living.
The training will be lead by Kelli Ham, Consumer Health and Technology Librarian, with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, UCLA Biomedical Library and Ellen Kersten, Digital Health Literacy Project Coordinator, with the Richmond Public Library.
The draft agenda is below for more information. Please RSVP using the form below or contacting Ellen Kersten via email or 510-307-8002 to let us know which day you plan to attend.
Health Information Training Agenda
A. Overview of health in Richmond (Ellen, 15 min)
B. Role of library in addressing community health issues and opportunities for collaboration (Kelli, 90 min)
Break (20 min)
C. General health resources and training (Kelli, 90 min)
D. Local health resources and training (Ellen, 15 min)
Enthusiastic volunteers, passionate community partners, colorful signs and balloons, and helpful resources of all sorts transformed the Richmond Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center into one-stop-shop for health and well-being this past Saturday, June 27. Richmond residents were able to enroll in free and low-cost healthcare with the help of trained counselors, get free medical screenings and counseling, receive resources about many topics from financial services to immigration laws to discounted utilities, and receive a free bag of healthy groceries. The event was hosted by WEConnect, a program established in 2005 by former First Lady Maria Shriver and now operated by the California Endowment. WEConnect tweeted that 750 people attended the Richmond event, and 140 of them enrolled in low to no cost health coverage. Hopefully many more will be able to use WeConnect's engaging and well-organized website to connect with additional federal, state, and local services such as food assistance, mental health counseling, legal services, immigrant resources, employment and education opportunities, financial planning, low cost auto insurance, and more. The Digital Health Literacy Project will be using the WEConnect website as a resource for learners to engage with in our digital health literacy curriculum. We also look forward to partnering with WEConnect to update their expanding resource map. A few photos from the event are below, and more can be found in an album on the WEConnect facebook page, including a picture of Healthy Richmond staff and Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay sharing their vision for health in Richmond at the event's Dream Wall for All.
Digital Health Literacy Project staff attended two exciting events in Richmond earlier this month.
On June 4, the West Contra Costa Family Justice Center held a grand opening event at their new location, 256 24th Street (just south of Macdonald Ave). The Center serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking. It used to be located at a police substation at Hilltop Mall, but the new location is a "one-stop" center that brings together many public and community-based organizations under one roof. The Center expects to serve 2,000 survivors within its first year. Each client works with a Navigator to connect them to a wide range of services.
One June 13, the Building Blocks for Kids Richmond Collaborative (BBK) hosted their fifth annual Major Taylor Bike Fiesta at Lincoln Elementary School. We hosted a table with the Richmond Public Library and Literacy for Every Adult Program (LEAP). A big thank you to LEAP volunteers Alex and Darra Owen, LEAP staff Hilaria Wright and Celina, and Library staff Deborah Bonet for helping out at the table. Also thank you to Half Price Books in Berkeley for donating children's books that we passed out. Residents also enjoyed the other materials at our table, including English-Spanish dictionaries, stress balls, pens, pencils, notebooks, flyers about Library and LEAP programs, and craft materials to decorate bikes. BBK did an excellent job coordinating a fun and memorable event, including free healthy and delicious food, zumba classes, bike repairs, games, and music. We are already looking forward to next year's Bike Fiesta!
Updates about the intersections of digital literacy, health literacy, community health, and adult education.