PATERSON, NJ- In what has been a quarterly effort to help residents “empower themselves with the tools they need to reach their potential as parents, and as members of a productive community,” Paterson non-profit Humble Beginnings hosted a drug and health awareness day and community cookout on Saturday.

The event, held in the parking lot of the Masonic Temple on Broadway featured an array of services all on hand to help “bridge the gap between people and core community problems.”

The event, Akbar McEntyre, one of the organization’s founders, told TAPinto Paterson, is an opportunity to reach out to residents that require a variety of health and substance abuse services, but don’t know where to turn for them. Health screenings and substance abuse treatment options were among the services available at the event.

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A social worker by education and training, McEntyre has led an effort to conduct an extensive assessment of the health needs of vulnerable residents throughout Paterson, saying that the issues are not limited to the Fourth Ward but extend out across the city. They must, he stresses regularly at community forums and other events, be addressed in a holistic manner with an understanding that many of them arise from decades of public policies that have led to a continual downgrade of the socioeconomic status of those living in inner cities.

His goal, McEntyre said, is to establish a community resource center staffed with health and social service professionals that will help “achieve the greater good.”

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