Throughout the day, over 300 neighborhood residents stopped by to obtain samples of traditional Spanish foods that were organic and low in sodium content. "I tried these new food items at home and there's no difference in the taste," commented Hilsa Morgan, a volunteer from Vernon CT. Hilsa shared why she had driven all the way from Vernon to Hartford on such a beautiful day to volunteer saying that,
"I was talking to the event organizer a couple of weeks ago about how people, especially women, in the Latino community die so young and so often from diabetes, obesity, cancer and about our starchy diet. I am Puerto Rican and I cook the same way. I talked about today with my husband, who is a chef. He called Goya Foods and they were delighted to donate samples of their new line of low sodium, organic foods. I really feel good about doing this and helping my community to eat healthier for a better life.Margarita Valdez helped to pass out food samples and said, "When I heard about this event, I wanted to come and learn more about eating better. I eat Goya foods all the time. I think it is great that the company is doing this." Margarita stated that she thinks President Obama is taking the right approach with health care by encouraging each person to take better care of themselves. "I just got health care insurance," Margarita stated. "I was without it for a long time and I hope that the President will be able to get health care reform accomplished this year."
The Hispanic Health Council set up a table and, as residents stopped to pick up food samples, Yizza Galdamez (HHC) talked with them about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise. Yizza had on hand a wealth of information packets in English and Spanish on the various HC health care initiatives. She stated that she was so excited about this activity and wants to continue to work together in this way for the Latino community. She too is hopeful that President Obama will be able to pass his health care reform plan stating that,
"One of the concerns that frustrates me with our current system is that I come in contact with people who are working, trying to improve the quality of their life be denied health care coverage because of the fact that they have a small, part-time job. They do not earn enough to pay for private health care and, because they have even just a small job, they are disqualified to receive public health assistance."Yizza also stated that she was happy to see volunteers from the community get involved.
In addition to the materials that HHC had on hand, OFC volunteers brought along fliers highlighting President Obama's health care plan in English and Spanish, sharing the fliers and talking about health care reform with neighborhood residents. "It is important for people to know what the facts are," stated Amy Martin, a volunteer fluent in both Spanish and English. "I believe that our doing days of service is also very important," she continued. "It shows we are not just about politics, we actually care about the community and are willing to help."
In the spirit of service, OFC is donating the left over packages of rice and seasonings and the cans of beans to a local homeless shelter. OFC and HHC will continue to work on various health care service projects in the Latino community over the next few months.