Oco News

First Universalist Society of Central Square brings people, services together at Oct. 2 event

Imagine browsing a rummage sale, then taking Narcan training, learning how to prevent tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, and getting questions about Covid vaccines answered by a health professional.

And scheduling a mammogram or blood donation, finding out about a wealth of services offered by the human service agency Oswego County Opportunities and the CNY Community Arts Center, then grabbing some of your favorite Watkins Products.

You can do all that Saturday, Oct. 2 at First Universalist Society of Central Square.

What started out as the church’s second rummage sale has evolved into a community outreach event of sorts. Free face painting will be offered, and a strolling flutist will entertain shoppers with Irish and other music. Church members will have individually wrapped baked goods for sale.

The event will run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the church grounds, 3243 Fulton Ave., state Route 49 just west of US Route 11. Admission is free.

With the Covid pandemic continuing to challenge the physical and mental health of community members, the church wanted to bring people together for something normal — a rummage sale — and also for health education and cultural opportunities in a supportive, friendly, non-judgmental setting.

It’s a goal in keeping with the Unitarian Universalist principles, which include recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence. First Universalist is the only Unitarian Universalist church in Oswego County.

Professionals from the Oswego County Health Department will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about Covid vaccines, give out toothbrushes and tick kits, and provide training in the use of Narcan nasal spray to treat narcotic overdoses. Those who take Narcan training on a computer tablet will leave with Narcan.

Oswego County Opportunities offers free transportation within the county for those getting a Covid vaccine. Transportation is available 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with flexibility by calling 315-598-1514. At the Oct. 2 event, OCO will help people find a vaccine provider near them. Vaccines are free.

Health professionals understand that people have questions about vaccines and may have heard misinformation, said Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator for the county. Health educators will be available to answer any questions the public has, she said.

“The more we can interact with community members, the more we can ease their fears,” said Ellen Lazarek, prevention services coordinator for OCO Crisis and Development Services.

OCO will have information about LGBTQ plus services, free HIV rapid tests, and condoms. Cancer Services of the North Country will give brief informational presentations throughout the day about the importance of early detection with regular screenings for breast, cervical and colon cancer.

Representatives from Upstate University Hospital will schedule appointments for upcoming mammography vans, including one 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2 at First Universalist. Those who don’t have insurance can find out how they can get screenings for free.

OCO also will provide information about other services including Meals on Wheels, senior citizen dining and activity centers, Head Start, homeless services, and the Services to Aid Families shelter.

Church members will take appointments for upcoming Red Cross blood drives in Central Square.

CNY Community Arts Center, based in Fulton, will offer information about its many classes and cultural activities. The center’s slogan says it all: “All Arts, All Ages, All People!”

Two tables will be devoted to the sale of Watkins Products. Watkins offers gourmet products and health products.

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