By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A vaccine popup on Saturday, where organizers distributed vaccinations and fresh food to a community hit hard by the pandemic, was the first ever held in an LA community garden.

Cultiva LA, formed last March to address food insecurity in the Westlake and Pico Union area, partnered with County Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose office says developed the dual strategy of a vaccine clinic and food giveaway, organized the event.

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“It’s so important that we do a walk up,” Jose Niguel Ruiz, executive director of Cultiva LA told CBSLA. “Most of the major vaccination sites require a car for you to go there. Unfortunately, the community that we serve, most of them do not drive. And just within a mile radius, there’s over 30,000 families.”

Organizers said they wanted to make the event as easy as possible for community members since there’s also a tech gap some residents face that can make it more complicated to get the vaccine.

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No appointment or any kind of paperwork was needed in advance of Saturday’s event. People simply had to show and bring some form of identification.

Hector Velasquez, who lives in the area and doesn’t have car, said he walked to the popup clinic to get his first vaccination dose.

“It was very fast and it was awesome, just like the flu shot from Christmastime,” Velasquez said.

Cultiva LA and Supervisor Solis’s office were able to distribute 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine and provide 500 families with care packages containing farm fresh eggs, Swiss chard, celery and kale among other items from the urban garden.

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Another event in this Westlake District community is scheduled for May 15, so that residents can receive their second vaccination dose.