by Doug Sheaffer
I recently had an opportunity to sit down one to one with someone and talk about our community; to talk about what's here, what's lacking, and what are the strengths. I enjoyed it.
A couple dynamics came out of the conversation, one of which is the amount of free or reduced costs resources that are available to people. Just one example are the recent outreach gatherings that occurred in both north and south Pacific County: Project Homeless.
Project Homeless is geared toward people who for whatever reason are without a place to call "home", and are still making their way through each day. These events offer information and services to all who come, and has been a huge help to a lot of people.
Not only were many able to leave with physical items and receive some physical help, but also had the opportunity to get LOTS of information about supports and resources in our communities.
We are all prone to routine. If we find ourselves in an unfamiliar area, we might run into some information that is just what we need. We access it, use the resource and it enters into our routine. We are all also prone to looking down instead of up and around.
What I mean by that, is we often miss opportunities because we know what's working--more or less--for us right now. In addition to the annual events previously mentioned (which are hugely successful) there are ongoing resources that meet a ton of need.
Just the opportunity for food is amazing in our rural area. Food banks are open throughout the county, and there are several places that provide periodic hot meals--again for free. If you have the need--and the appetite--these could work for you.
Meals are also available if certain eligibility criteria are met. For example, there are Senior Nutrition sites (sometimes called Congregate Meal sites) where people who are 60+ can meet, eat and visit. And if you have a difficult time getting out of your house? Home-Delivered Meals (Meals on Wheels, etc) may be the right fit for you.
Food isn't the only thing available for eligible individuals. From help in finding housing to free tax return assistance; from free legal advice to Medicare plan guidance; from need to resource--there's a lot going on.
In many cases, these helps wouldn't be available without the work of dedicated volunteers, and speaking of volunteers...
Well, that's another column!
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