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'Women Wellness Wednesdays' offers free resources to improve well-being, health of people in South Norfolk

More than 40 different nonprofits and businesses came together to help people get a little healthier.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — "Women Wellness Wednesday" is all about helping the community and it has a little bit of everything.

More than 40 vendors are offering resources ranging from employment opportunities to health screenings, to food and childcare assistance. 

"I think it's wonderful," Chesapeake resident Audrey Reid-Vick said. "Because a lot of things people don't know about and in order to be proactive in your health, you have to get out and see things, meet people, network, learn things." 

Sonya Abbott an Interpersonal Violence Advocate with the HOPE Program was one of the vendors there. 

"It could be childcare, it could be food, it could be housing," Abbott said. "You have all these services that are available to people that don't know that they're here and it cost them nothing to get these resources."

She added, "We deal with sexual assault, domestic violence, and human sex trafficking... And we're the only service of its kind here in the city of Chesapeake."

Another vendor, Buffalow Family and Friends was offering free fruits and vegetables.

"We're in a food desert," CEO & Founder Nischelle Buffalow said. "So it's our mission to bring the freshest food into our community." 

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is behind the event.

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Registered Nurse Case Manager Sharon Blackwell said her team organized the event after noticing a trend among patients who make frequent trips to the emergency room.

"I broke those people down demographically and I found a large percentage of them come from South Norfolk and of those people, a lot of them are women," Blackwell said. 

Blackwell also found that there are higher rates of chronic illness and less access to care in South Norfolk -- so they wanted to bring the resources to the community.

She said overall wellness is about more than just the medical aspect, it's about raising the quality of life.

"A person's health status encompasses everything – their medical, their emotional, their mental health. And their quality of life is elevated if we can improve any of those aspects," Blackwell said.

"It can be a life-changing event. You know, if just one person comes through and is able to get a better job that lifts them out of poverty, or they find out they are eligible for childcare when before they were not – that's a life-changing event for someone."

Women's Wellness Wednesday is held on the first Wednesday of each month at the Bainbridge Marketplace Shopping Center in Chesapeake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

It's free for anyone to attend. 

Author's Note: The video below is on file from Jan. 16, 2020.