FRESNO, California (KSEE) — Shantay Davies-Balch launched “The Black Wellness and Prosperity Center” to help African American women and babies.

However as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Davies-Balch realized that she needed to put the center on hold so she could help the Black community navigate the pandemic.

“My intention was just to get some infrastructure in place to do some COVID work in the African American community, and it sort of took on a life of its own,” said Davies-Balch.

She helped form “The African American COVID 19 Equity Coalition” a branch of the “Fresno COVID 19 Equity Project.”

“We know that communities of color are more likely to suffer from underlying health conditions,” said Davies-Balch.

She’s already made an impact with people like Stephanie Franklin who was pregnant, living in a homeless shelter and sick with COVID-19.

Franklin now has a job and a home of her own thanks to Davies-Balch’s work.

“It’s really about building internal capacity and also building out infrastructure so that post COVID folks walk away from this work not only having helped the community, but having gained some very transferable skills that can be applied in different areas of community and public health,” stated Davies-Balch.