Homeless Program Needs Volunteers
July 31, 2007
Last year, in just one day, service providers and volunteers assisted more than 500 people experiencing homelessness connect to services that otherwise might be unavailable to them. This year sponsors hope to beat those numbers at an upcoming event.
Project Homeless Connect 2, sponsored by Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program and the City of Concord, is a single-day event that offers medical and dental care, employment services, alcohol and drug referrals, bicycle and wheelchair repairs, and much more to people experiencing homelessness. The event, which will be held on October 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Willow Pass Center, 2748 East Olivera Blvd, Concord, depends largely on volunteers. Volunteer registration forms are available on the CCHS website, cchealth.org, or by calling 925-313-6124.
"Volunteers are vital to the success of this program. They do everything from greeting and directing the people as they arrive with the distribution of goods and resources to assisting service providers," said Cynthia Belon, Director of the CCHS Homeless Program.
Belon stressed that while skilled service providers are needed, anyone can volunteer.
"Even though we need skilled volunteers such as dentists and substance abuse counselors, we also need volunteers to set-up the event, distribute food and more. There is a job for everyone, you can volunteer for the entire day or even for just a few hours. Any help is appreciated," said Belon.
Belon said last year's evaluations showed that participants were overwhelmingly happy with last year's event. Many homeless participants stated being stunned and overcome by the kindness and support of the volunteers.
"Volunteering was a fun and easy way of giving back to the community. It gave me a sense of satisfaction and I'll definitely volunteer again this year," said Dorothy Sansoe, a volunteer at last year's Project Homeless Connect event.
According to Belon, there are an estimated 4,400 people experiencing homelessness in the county on any given night. The event's goal is to provide food, and other supplies, along with the medical, dental and other services they otherwise may not be able to receive, including information on housing opportunities.
Project Homeless Connect also accepts donations. Checks can be mailed to Greater Richmond Interfaith Program/Project Homeless Connect, 597 Center Avenue, Suite 325, Martinez, CA 94553. On August 15, event organizers will begin accepting donations of toiletries listed on the CCHS website, cchealth.org, at the Homeless Shelter, 2047 Arnold Industrial Way, Concord.
For more information on Project Homeless Connect, visit cchealth.org.
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