As vaccine distribution ramps up, a Roanoke nonprofit works to provide COVID-19 resources for Spanish-speaking communities


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A nonprofit organization in the Roanoke Valley is working hard to provide COVID-19 resources to Spanish-speaking communities.

“It has been so difficult for our community,” said Thania Torres, Volunteer and Service Coordinator at Casa Latina.

For months, Torres has worked closely with families at Casa Latina.

The social service agency offers a variety of materials including cultural events, nutrition classes, and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs.

Inside look of the office at Casa Latina, located at 3110 Pioneer Rd NW in Roanoke.

However, since March 2020, its big focus has been on the coronavirus.

Despite additional help and individual consultation, Torres says many people still have questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lack of resources from health officials isn’t helping.

“I personally think there’s not too much information in Spanish about the vaccine, and the information that we do have is not available for everyone,” Torres said.

In a special partnership with the City of Roanoke, volunteers like Torres are making sure families are getting educated in a truthful manner.

“Working with people like those at Casa Latina, that already have that established trust in those longstanding, deep-seated relationships in the community, has given me a lot of access,” said Katie Hedrick, a bilingual COVID-19 Support Specialist for the City of Roanoke.

After attending virtual discussions, Hedrick says families are still unsure about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“A lot of it is just misinformation or a lack of information about what is the vaccine,” Hedrick said. “Is it trustworthy? Is it safe? do we have to get it or are people going to force us?”

With the recent addition of Spanish-speaking services from the Virginia Department of Health, volunteers hope more people can stay informed.

“If we are expanding the services to the Spanish-speaking community, it’s an amazing help for us too,” said Torres. “Also as an organization, we can reach more people and help them navigate through all the system.”

The nonprofit will continue to educate those in need throughout the Roanoke Valley, a region where diversity is valued.

“The culture is so rich, so vibrant and we want to do all that we can to keep that culture here in Roanoke,” said Kris Tilley-Lubbs, Board President at Casa Latina.

For more information about Casa Latina, visit their Facebook page here.

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