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Volunteers sought for Project Homeless Connect

Volunteers sought for Project Homeless Connect

August 29th, 2018 by Joe Gamm in News

2017 FILE: Joyce Hill talks to David Crowe as she prepares to stick his finger for a blood sugar test. Hill is an LPN and attends Second Baptist Church; she was one of numerous people helping at the Project Homeless Connect event.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Project Homeless Connect is taking applications for volunteers to participate in the organization's fourth year of assisting people experiencing homelessness.

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From 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19, volunteers will assist people experiencing homelessness to connect with service providers. Between 200-250 volunteers are needed for the event, which will have service vendors set up in churches in the 300 block of East Capitol Avenue — at First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church and First Christian Church, said Kristen Hilty, a co-chair of the event and the executive director of Common Ground Community Building.

Other churches provide vans and personnel to assist during the project.

During the event, people experiencing homelessness will be able to connect with service providers, community organizations, social services, shelters and thrift shops. They'll be able to receive same-day testing for HIV and hepatitis and get blood pressure readings, eye exams and dental screenings.

Volunteers will be needed the day of the event and the day before to help with event preparations.

An application for volunteers can be found at goo.gl/forms/Ijw9TJKifpH4Fo6O2.

"(The event is) a national service model," Hilty said. "That model is based on the idea that each person who comes to the event is paired with a tour guide. That is one of our main volunteer needs that day."

Volunteers assist the same person throughout the day.

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Participation allows volunteers to witness what it's like to be homeless.

"The goal of it really is to be almost like an advocacy training piece," she said.

Coming up sooner is a donation event in advance of Project Homeless Connect. The project conducts a Donation Day from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 8 to gather items homeless people need. People are invited to donate new adult white socks, new adult underwear in assorted sizes, new washcloths, toiletries (including nail clippers, razors and feminine hygiene products), and new or clean gently used clothing and shoes.

The drop-off location is at the First Baptist Church gymnasium, at the bottom of the hill below the church, 301 E. Capitol Ave. in Jefferson City.