By Jessica Cerda
WestCare Texas San Antonio put the “Care” in Caravan by serving the community’s most vulnerable in observance of World AIDS Day. On Saturday, December 4, a coalition of organizations including AmeriCorps Public Allies, BEAT AIDS, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Nursing Cardinal Wellness Center, Street Medicine, Women Veterans of San Antonio, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, S.A. Hope Center, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and KHS Consulting joined the WestCare team for a “CARE-a-Van” of services and resources.
The BEAT AIDS mobile unit led the “CARE-a-Van” to three locations including SAMMinistries, located downtown, as well as homeless encampments near VIA Centro Bus Station in San Antonio’s Westside and Hays Street Bridge on the Eastside. They offered HIV and hepatitis testing with gift card incentives, awareness t-shirts, and other goods. UIW administered a total of 40 vaccines in the field including flu shots and Covid vaccines. A total of 21 people were completely vaccinated for COVID and qualified for $50 grocery gift cards from the YWCA.
The social workers at S.A. Hope Center were able to connect with numerous people about housing assistance sharing the next steps and where to go. Clothing, hot meals, bottled water, personal hygiene, and safe sex kits were distributed at each location. WestCare Texas’ Lead Prevention Navigator, Xavier Graves organized and led the event. “I was thinking of underserved groups that needed more assistance and the best way to serve them. The Care-a-Van idea emerged from these two ideas” said Graves.