Hopeloft Launches Locally Focused Vaccine Information Hub

By: Follow South Jersey Staff

Hopeloft’s home on East Commerce Street in Bridgeton. Photo credit: Hopeloft.

BRIDGETON, N.J. — Hopeloft, a nonprofit community coworking lab located in Bridgeton that has incubated more than 30 projects which are working together to achieve social change and economic revitalization, announced the official launch of their new online vaccine information hub, Vaccine United.

The new website serves the community as a go-to digital resource where anyone can easily find up-to-date information about how to get vaccinated, who is eligible, what statewide restrictions and protocols are currently in place, how to access mental health and financial resources, and more.

The site will also provide a platform for local voices to tell their COVID stories. Submissions are being accepted from the public, and Hopeloft already features several on the site.

“We talk about masking up and getting vaccinated as the key to ending the pandemic,” Melissa Helmbrecht, founder of Hopeloft, said. “This is true, but at a deeper level what we are really counting on is the strength of community; our instincts to serve the common good; and of course, the power of loving kindness.”

Support for this project was provided by funding from New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a statewide grant-making program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose stated goal is to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. The organization has invested more than $1.2 billion in New Jersey since 1972.

“Community-based organizations and their partners are working to make information about the importance of taking the vaccine, vaccination events, and available supports more readily accessible,” Diane Hagerman, Deputy Director of NJHI said. “We see communities coming together, building multilingual outreach teams, and partnering with youth, community organizers, employers and others to answer residents’ questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. As communities’ needs evolve, the Vaccine United website brings comprehensive and verified information to residents when they want it and provides them with a platform to share their stories. On a broader level, Vaccine United serves as a hub where communities can exchange resources to support their peers in working more efficiently and effectively to keep everyone safe.”

Hopeloft’s leaders, organizations, and social enterprises serve more than 5,000 children and families annually and have catalyzed more than $40 million in resources to support Hopeloft member programs and their local communities. Last year, Hopeloft launched Follow South Jersey with the goal to provide informative news coverage for residents of southern New Jersey, who live in a “news desert” as there are few organizations committed to covering news in Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, and the surrounding counties.

The Vaccine United website seeks to provide a place for the community to share their personal experiences, speak in their own voice about overcoming struggles, and provide words of encouragement to those who are struggling now, with the goal of conveying a message of unity in the face of significant challenges. Readers can submit a personal story at: https://vaccineunited.com/sharestory/

The site is live as of December 21, 2021 and interested readers may view it at http://www.vaccineunited.com.

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to news@followsouthjersey.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.