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Not your average winery trip: Ag workers get free health check-ups


Most people visit vineyards to taste wine, but earlier this week more than 70 Long Island agricultural employees and their families traveled to local wineries for something entirely different: free flu shots and health care assessments.

HRHCare, a nonprofit health care organization with locations in Riverhead and Greenport, hosted its first-ever “Day of Health” Nov. 10 at Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck and Pindar Vineyards in Peconic. According to a press release, the event was coordinated with the support of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowers, which raised funds for it during a July benefit.

“Agriculture is a vital driver of Long Island’s economy, but those who work in the field often lack the resources to access affordable, high-quality health care services,” said HRHCare president and CEO Anne Kaufman Nolon.

Last Tuesday, agricultural employees representing more than a dozen North Fork farms received a range of free services, including health consultations with Dr. Charles De La Cuadra of HRHCare, who also provided skin cancer screenings. Flu shots, nutritional education, access to insurance education and enrollment, vouchers for follow-up appointments and more were also given.

“As a mother, I forget to take care of myself,” said Esther Munoz, who said she learned about the event through her church. “But taking care of myself is necessary for my family.”

According to HRHCare, agriculture workers and their families “often struggle to gain access to qualify for healthcare.”

“Many of these families suffer from poor nutrition, asthma, musculoskeletal conditions and a lack of preventative care and dental services,” the organization said.

To that end, Barbara Shinn of Shinn Estate Vineyards said she looks forward to co-hosting another “Day of Health” this spring.

“The incredible teamwork between HRHCare and Long Island Sustainable Winegrowers is what made this effort successful,” she said. “We are truly fortunate to have a collaboration like this on the East End.”

Above: Andrew Lehto of HRHCare provides a free blood pressure screening at Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck. (Credit: courtesy photo)

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