Connect

Alexandria Wolf and Lonnie Abbott eat lunch after gathering supplies from the 2018 Project Community Connect & Veteran Stand Down. This year’s event is Saturday at the Hermiston Community Center.

HERMISTON — A cornucopia of resources — including giveaways, services and information — is available during the annual Project Community Connect & Veteran Stand Down.

The free event, which is designed for veterans, as well as those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hermiston Community Center, 415 S. Highway 395. Transportation is available to and from the event. Buses will depart at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. from the Pendleton Salvation Army office (not the thrift store), 150 S.E. Emigrant Ave. Return trips will leave from the Hermiston Community Center at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Ysenia Gomez, a case manager with Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO), said the project provides access to needed services and assists in identifying resources people might not be aware of. In addition, she said the entire event is free of charge.

The Home 4 Hope Coalition teamed up with local veterans services organizations and other community partners to connect people to valuable resources. Those in attendance can receive on-the-spot services, including everything from vision care and health screenings to haircuts and pet care.

“Last year we had dog food and cat food. We put those in containers and gave them out. There will be free immunizations for pets,” Gomez said. “I know pet care can be a huge barrier for people.”

Also, a free meal will be offered by Veg Out. In addition, representatives from various agencies will be on hand to assist and offer information about employment and adult education services, legal help, housing options, veteran’s benefits, Cover Oregon/Oregon Health Plan application assistance, children’s resources and other social services, such as mental health, disabilities and domestic violence.

Linda Skendzel of Morrow County Veterans Services applauded the efforts of all those who work together to organize the event. Due to the small number of veterans in Morrow County, Skendzel said it’s difficult to present a comprehensive Veteran Stand Down. Teaming up with the Home 4 Hope Coalition as part of the Project Community Connect not only assists local veterans but also others in the community.

“It provides resources for people that kind of need a hand up,” Skendzel said.

Also, Gomez said there will be lots of giveaways during the event. The Walmart Distribution Center, she said, donated 10 pallets full of items to be distributed. People can walk away with hygiene products, personal care supplies, socks, gloves and other clothing items.

For more information or to register to help during Project Community Connect, visit www.home-4-hope.weebly.com.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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