Last spring, Beautiful Day received a grant from the CDC Foundation to put stickers encouraging COVID-19 vaccination onto granola bars and to distribute them to refugee communities. We partnered with 14 organizations that were providing emergency services to refugees and asked them to hand the bars out to their clients. And we invited our supporters to participate by purchasing the bars directly for distribution. Then a generous family foundation made a significant donation as well, so we produced even more of our catchy "bandaid bars."
We were motivated by concerns about the special challenges that the pandemic has posed to refugee communities. Refugees often struggle to gain access to good health information. It takes courage to trust public health authorities, given what so many have experienced at the hands of brutal governments. At the same time Covid has deeply impacted these communities. Many refugees work in essential jobs that increase their risk of exposure. Others lost jobs and have experienced food and housing insecurity. We saw how these issues were impacting our refugee staff, trainees, and youth. But because we've built a lot of trust within these communities, we felt that now was the time to contribute to community efforts to help keep refugees safe.
The program has now ended and we were able to distribute 12,000 bars to organizations serving refugees in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland (Wow!). Through this important group effort, we were able to spread the word to thousands of people who may have needed just a little nudge to decide to get vaccinated. Our thanks go out to all who participated, including our community partners, our friends and supporters, and the generous family foundation.
Here's what one community partner said about the program: "Thank you for the granola bars. People love them and they are really healthy. The only other healthy thing that people donate is onions."
We certainly appreciate the acknowledgment, although we've never been compared with onions before!
Here's another comment from an organization that offers English classes to refugees: "Two students said that the granola bar message reminded them about getting vaccinated and they were going to make their appointments."
Now that's what we love to hear!
Right now, people are being inundated with messages about the vaccine and attitudes have hardened. Sometimes, a fun little nudge works better than a hard shove. And it doesn't hurt when the message comes in the form of a delicious, wholesome snack from an organization people know and trust. We are grateful for your help.