CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Vermilion County Health Department was recently awarded with the Bronze Innovative Practice Award for the innovations it made during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included turning the Fischer Theatre into a vaccination clinic site.

But other groups, including the NAACP, did their part during the pandemic. Ed Butler is the group’s president.

“We had our contact number out there that they can call and they would call us, and we would go and pick up their groceries and pick up their medicine,” Butler said. “It was just a passion that we had, that we were able to help the people, you know, help the needs.”

Butler said many people stepped up to help their neighbors and it paid off. But with COVID measures scaling back, he said it doesn’t mean the public should fully relax.

“I’m just happy that this program is still available,” Butler said. “Because this pandemic is not over and people need to realize that it is not over, that we need to continue to mask up, especially if you’re not vaccinated.”

Butler said the work his group does for the county is far from over. He plans to continue to give vaccines, education classes and transportation to and from medical appointments.

The NAACP has received a new grant. With it, they plan to extend their helping hand into Douglas County as well.