All the important service providers who work to provide assistance for Merced’s homeless population came together last Friday for the 2019 Homeless Connect event at the Central Presbyterian Church’s Hoffmeister Center.
Hundreds of struggling residents showed up — more than 200 in the first hours, and many more during the course of the day — to take advantages of relief services.
Among the movers and shakers who made the event happen were: Tim Adam, chief operations officer of the Merced County Rescue Mission; Sue Bangon Emanivong on behalf of Healthy House; and Helene Mitchell of the county’s Human Services Agency.
More than 30 providers were on hand for the event, including the Hope Mill of Van Nuys which handed out backpacks filled with survival gear. Other groups included the Central California Alliance for Health, Catholic Charities of Merced, This Ain’t Your Mamas Church, Golden Valley Health Centers, the D Street Shelter, Journey for Justice, the Continuum of Care, and the Valley Crisis Center. Twenty students for the Milan Institute provided haircuts to those in need.
This year the event was aided by the local New Direction outreach team who helped visitors navigate the service booths to get the most out of the event.
Merced County Supervisor Lloyd Pareira — a strong supporter of Homeless Connect — as well as Merced Mayor Mike Murphy, spoke to the crowd about the importance of community members stepping up and making a difference for their hometown.