PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A health clinic in Pelham is offering a free COVID-19 testing opportunity today that organizers hope will help the Hispanic community.

Community of Hope Health Clinic organized the event along with the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama and other organizations. Justin Johnston, executive director for the clinic, said about 65% of the patients are Hispanic. He said they’ve noticed that many among the Hispanic population in Shelby County are going to testing sites in other places, so they wanted to offer an opportunity closer to home.

The testing is free and no appointments are required. HICA executive director Isabel Rubio said that’s crucial for many people who need to get tested.

“Making sure that testing is available, is free, and that we can do this in walk-up situations is really, really important,” Rubio said. “If you think you might have COVID, waiting for days to get an appointment is really sort of beside the point. People need to be able to walk up and get testing.”

Rubio said the case numbers in the Latino community are disproportionately higher than their population in the state, so it’s important that people in the community have access to free testing. But the event also is about providing supplies and spreading information about COVID-19. That’s why organizers will be handing out backpacks at the site that contain masks and educational materials.

“We really hope that folks will take advantage of this, that people will realize that this is an opportunity to make sure we’re taking of care of people’s public health, and that it’s about education in the community, as well, that folks have got to get the testing if they suspect that they might be exposed or might actually even be suffering from COVID,” Rubio said.

The testing site is Mi Pueblo Supermarket in Pelham. The store is also a partner in the effort. You can go to the store at 3060 Pelham Parkway today from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to be tested.