Love Abounds Here hosted a Community Resource Fair on Thursday, July 29, at the Yelm Community Center, offering networking and resource information for a variety of topics including housing and food …
Love Abounds Here hosted a Community Resource Fair on Thursday, July 29, at the Yelm Community Center, offering networking and resource information for a variety of topics including housing and food insecurity as well as accessible health care.
During the event, people perused booths to gain more information about community offerings.
Yelm resident Sherry Short was systematically going from booth to booth to gain information about how she could best handle a switch up in her housing situation.
“It’s been pretty awesome,” Short said of the fair. “They’ve been pretty helpful. They’ve got a lot of good resources for different areas of life, you know, different things that families are struggling with during this season and coming out of COVID and everything. It’s been pretty amazing.”
She said the Community Action Council and the Family Support Center booths applied best to her situation.
“They were extremely helpful in guiding me to a couple different ones for different issues that we’re having,” Short said. “We’re having to move and find a different place to live.”
Short said the fair was an important event for Yelm, something the city could use more of.
“I wish that they had been able to have these a little more often this summer,” Short said. “Maybe every two weeks instead of once a month.”
She said she would have loved to see more public outreach reminders for the event, saying the turnout could have been much greater.
Yelm is starving for this kind of help, Short said, especially given the struggles that some go through.
“Yelm’s got a drug problem,” Short said, highlighting the importance of the fair. “And it’s bigger than a lot of people want to acknowledge. And I used to be one of those people, so I can say now that it really gets swept under the rug a lot. As far as Facebook goes, man, they’re so harsh about the homeless in town and stuff.”
She said, similar to the fair’s offerings, she has tried to give back to the community that she calls home.
“We would reach out to the community and bring dinners out to different people, because I knew, kind of, where they hung out and where they lived,” Short said. “Really, this program is amazing. Organization Our Ark, a charity group working to end youth homelessness for those between the ages of 13 and 25, was raising awareness of the plight that many young people face in Thurston County. The organization was created in February.
“What we do, as a team, is we go out and we conduct street outreach at least seven days a week,” said Danny Burkett, founder of Our Ark.
Burkett said he’s on day 29 of a 45-day, 45-night walk through the youth homeless camps of Thurston County. He spends time each day locating new homeless camp sites and spreading awareness of the issue to Thurston County businesses.
Dylan Isley, a homeless youth with the program, said it has been incredibly helpful.
“I’ve been homeless since 2018 … bouncing back and forth,” Isley said, adding Burkett has supported him in part by giving him volunteer opportunities to help end the cycle of homelessness. “He’s just been a really good supporter.”
Isley said the fair itself was also a great opportunity for him.
“It’s really helpful, all the different resources, getting connected and strengthening the resolve to help the community in a positive way,” Isley said. “All the different resources (are) coming together, connecting like a puzzle piece. It’s a really good, positive thing. I like it.”
Crime Victims Advocacy Network, which can be reached at 1-888-288-9221 or online at www.cvan11.org, was also at the fair, with Sheila King and Don Seese representing the organization.
“Primarily, what we do is we offer certain services,” Seese said. “We refer victims of crime to different services that we can’t always provide. As like medical service, we can help them with different victim compensation forms to get them financial assistance to pay for those. We help with getting restitution paperwork, filling it out and submitting it through the courthouse. We can also help identify restraining orders, no-contact orders and things of that nature to help victims find out what they need.”
King said chances to raise awareness of the organization’s services are a must have in this era of pandemic.
“We’re out here just doing a community resource fair to get our information out to people about our program so that we can help serve them and meet the needs of the community,” King said. “I think it’s very important since we are still going through a pandemic. … We need to get back out there and let people know that we are still here to help them.”
The Community Action Council can be reached at 360-438-1100 and the Family Support Center can be reached at 360-754-9297.
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