CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A group of college students is teaming up with several organizations in Mecklenburg County to set up vaccine clinics at neighborhood events.


What You Need To Know

  • Wingate University senior Jacob Flowers is a student ambassador for the Faith in the Vaccine initiative
  • Students help staff vaccine clinics at football games, church gatherings and other neighborhood events
  • Bridge Builders Charlotte founder Suzanne Watts Henderson says their work is focused on being deeply personal


Jacob Flowers is a senior at Wingate University. On a campus where about half of the students are somewhat protected from COVID-19, he sees first-hand the need for vaccines.

“There’s a lot of areas that are starting to require them and helping people get that vaccine… especially people with low access and people who wouldn’t get it unless they had quick access,” Flowers said. “Which could include people on a college campus such as this one.”

Flowers is among 50 Charlotte-area college students who partner with Bridge Builders Charlotte and other nonprofit organizations for the Faith in the Vaccine Initiative.

They help set up pop-up vaccine clinics at events, such as football games and church gatherings.

“I think by making it accessible at events where people are already at we may be able to slightly increase those [vaccination] numbers even more,” Flowers said.

On a Sunday afternoon in September, Flowers drove about 45 minutes to West Charlotte High School to pass out incentive gift cards to those who got a vaccine at a drive-thru clinic in the parking lot.

Many were coming back to get their second dose after the same pop-up clinic was there during a back-to-school event in August.

“They got a backpack, books, pens and pencils,” Flowers said. “And they would pull around and come in this parking lot and hop in line.”

Flowers says about 63 people came by that day.  Jasmine Houston was among those who came back to get her second shot.

“It’s helping a lot of people out here cause some people don’t have a way to get the vaccine,” Houston said. “And they can just walk here in the community and just get it and go.”

Flowers is proud to make a difference in a zip code where a few months ago Mecklenburg County health officials said 36% of people had gotten their first dose.

“It’s a great feeling to see people able to get their vaccines,” Flowers said. “Especially those who struggle to get access to it in the beginning.”

Flowers encourages others to join the push to get out the vaccine one shot at a time.

“You don’t have to have some special qualification to get in touch with people and work with organizations,” Flowers said. “You’re able to help in a number of ways just being yourself.”

Flowers is planning to hold a vaccine clinic at Wingate’s homecoming football game on October 2.

Meanwhile, Bridge Builders Charlotte is continuing to work with community partners in areas with low vaccination rates.

The organization’s founder, Suzanne Watts Henderson, says their work is focused on being deeply personal. She encourages those who are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine to reach out to people they trust.

“Reach out to a trusted friend who’s vaccinated, reach out to a faith community leader, a pastor or someone who is vaccinated already,” Henderson said. “Ask them why they trust the vaccine.”

If you have trouble with access to the vaccine, Henderson says to send a note on their website and they’ll get you to a clinic.