Community Resource Fair coming Feb. 11 to Cleveland

The Family and Community Coalition of Montgomery County and the Trinity River Food Bank are hosting a free Community Resource Fair on Feb. 11, from 10 a.m .to 1 p.m., at the Cleveland Civic Center. More than a dozen vendors are signed up to participate. The event is being held on a Saturday in order to encourage family participation, said Christine Shippey, CEO of Trinity River Food Bank.

“Last January, we had more than 500 people attend our first Community Resource Fair,” said Shippey. “We want to connect folks to services. These organizations are coming together because we see the needs and want to work together to meet the needs to enact positive changes in our low-income families.”

Determined to give families a hand up, not a handout, Shippey said that food distributions alone will not fix a family’s problems.

“A food distribution might alleviate their problems temporarily, but we need to look at the whole problem behind the poverty,” she said. “We want to connect them to education classes and other services that will help them get out of poverty. It’s a holistic approach. We want to alleviate poverty, and we give out food as a tool to do that, but we also offer wrap-around services so they can better their lives for their families.”

One simple way is by offering haircuts that will make them more presentable when they apply for jobs, Shippey said.

At the Community Resource Fair, participants will be treated to free haircuts and groceries, and given access to Veterans Services, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, health services, adult education classes, and financial and utility assistance programs. Other services include parenting programs and in-home counseling. Shippey is hoping to offer free immunizations as well, but is still in the process of working out the details for that.

The Trinity River Food Bank’s Reading and Resource Van will be on site to give free books and snacks to children.

“The Reading and Resource Van will be making its debut. It was funded from a grant through the Save the Children program. We were blessed with the van and funded for the whole year,” Shippey said. “The van can be used when we do food distribution in remote areas. We can take the resource van with us and help clients make appointments with the nearest food pantry.”

For more information about the event, call 281-592-5001.


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