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Calistogans line up for free turkeys, flu shots from St. Helena Hospital Foundation

Calistogans line up for free turkeys, flu shots from St. Helena Hospital Foundation

Normally at this time of year, people are planning Thanksgiving dinner, and on a separate note are also encouraged to get flu shots. This is likely the first year an event has been centered around the two together.

The St. Helena Hospital Foundation, Adventist Health St. Helena and Celebration Nation partnered for a drive-thru turkey giveaway and flu shot clinic on Monday at the Calistoga Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The organizations handed out about 600 gift cards for Thanksgiving turkeys along with food boxes, hand sanitizer, water, personal hygiene products, gift cards, and free flu shots. The goal was to provide support to farmworker families and those who have been impacted by the recent fires and COVID-19 in Upvalley communities. Celebration Nation, a national nonprofit whose mission is to empower the Latinx community, entered the picture during the Glass Fire.

“We pooled our resources because we all live in the community, and want to make sure everyone is taken care of,” said Glen Newhart, CEO of the St. Helena Hospital Foundation.

Resources within the county such as COVID-19 testing have, until recently, been centered in Napa, a 40-minute drive from Calistoga. The outreach to Upvalley communities is part of a new and strategic plan for the foundation, Newhart said.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the organization has given away thousands of PPE kits and bottles of hand sanitizer. After the Glass Fire, the Foundation and Adventist Health provided hundreds of meals via a drive-thru each evening at Pacific Union College in Angwin.

The purpose of the flu vaccinations is to try to avoid the “twin-demic” and “get some level of preventative protection,” Newhart said.

This isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last time the organizations will partner to provide support and preventative measures to protect the community as it copes with the fallout from the pandemic and the wildfires.

“We want to be there and play a largely expanded, preventative role,” Newhart said, adding next year the community will see outreach on an even larger scale. “This is a multi-year effort,” he said.

Editor’s note: Because of the health implications of the COVID-19 virus, this article is being made available free to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. If you’d like to join us in supporting the mission of local journalism, please visit


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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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