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Published: Sunday, 10/23/2011

Nearly 300 attend Findlay event to get low-cost or free help


FINDLAY -- Nearly 300 people availed themselves of services aimed at assisting homeless or low-income people at a program organized yesterday by a Findlay housing consortium.

The event at The Dock at St. Mark's United Methodist Church featured health screenings, flu shots, mental-health services, haircuts, and distribution of items such as blankets.

This was the second year for the event, which included donated meals from area restaurants as well as food and other items donated by grocery stores, said Sunny Davis, a housing-resource advocate for a Hope House homeless shelter who coordinated this year's event.

Ms. Davis said 274 meals were served to visitors during the program.

In addition to wellness checks for individuals in attendance, visitors could have vehicles inspected by students in Findlay High School's automotive training program and advised on any repair needs, Ms. Davis said.

The students, who attend Millstream Career and Technology Center, also can provide low-cost vehicle repairs, Ms. Davis said.

Volunteers from the local health department, United Way of Hancock County, the University of Findlay, and Blanchard Valley Hospital helped provide assistance at the various booths.

Ms. Davis said last year's program began after executives with United Way approached Ken Leslie of Toledo's 1Matters Project Connect Tent City to determine ways to aid Hancock County's homeless population.

Mr. Leslie said that along with Hancock County, 1Matters is expanding its outreach to Defiance and Allen counties in Ohio, and Lenawee County in Michigan.

The Findlay consortium plans a wrap-up meeting next month to determine ways to expand the program next year.

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