People living in underserved neighborhoods often have limited access to health care, so the Response to Love Center (RTLC) in Buffalo, New York, launched a year-long Community Based Chronic Health Awareness and Prevention Program. Designed to focus on clients with chronic health conditions, the initiative is meant to educate the community and provide them with access to health care and screenings.
Sr. Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz, executive director of RTLC, said, “Many of those who come to the Center are fearful, anxious and have many unanswered questions. We listen to their stories about depression, sleepless nights, malnourishment, loneliness and feelings of being lost and forgotten. It is a sad and humbling experience being with the people, learning about how they lived during the difficult days of the pandemic and how they struggled.”
In order to bring health care to the people, RTLC hosted their first Health and Wellness Fair this summer. The event brought together 22 local business partners, all of whom donated their time, to provide community members with education about local social services, health screening and services and fitness and cooking demonstrations. Local farmers also set up a market filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, and all attendees were given a bag of fresh produce to take home.
“Now is the time, said Sr. Johnice, “a time of transition and growth, a time to move forward and continue walking with families and individuals sent to us by God. As we journey with one another, we are aware of the challenges the East Side community faces – poverty, housing, employment, insecurity, chronic health conditions and substance abuse. The goal of RTLC is to improve lives by addressing the basic human needs and providing a healthy, happy life for all.