VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: The file video above is from a story published on March 4, 2021.
More children and their parents in Virginia Beach have their flu vaccines. They got their shots at the Hispanic Fall Fest near the Second Police Precinct.
One of the organizers, Master Police Officer David Nieves, collaborated with others to make this happen.
Officer Nieves said he reached out to another community leader. "She said: 'Hey, let's have an event so that way they can get their inoculations, get some health screenings, get their ears tested, eyes tested for free"
Then, they realized they wanted to offer something also enjoyable for kids and families.
"A lot of people just started donating, giving their time and their money. We were able to get some bouncy houses. We got a petting zoo, pony rides and food for free from Criollos and Zero's," said Officer Nieves. "We got Halloween costumes from Harygul’s that we were able to give to people."
Mayor Bobby Dyer feels encouraged seeing this type of outreach for the city's Hispanic population.
"They are, once again, part of the beautiful mosaic that we have in Virginia Beach – of the different races, religions, people coming together," said Dyer.
Officer Nieves told us it was important to make everyone feel welcome when getting their flu shots.
Hispanic volunteers and first responders also helped translate to break down the language barrier.
"And a lot of times, kindness translates whatever language it is. Everybody was just showing kindness to one another," said Officer Nieves.
Those who attended had the chance to get a COVID-19 test as well.
Virginia Beach Department of Public Health and EVMS also collaborated to host the event.