Volunteers Janette Mulloy (left) and Vaishali Sharma get the word out about Community Connect Day on Nov. 17. Photo submitted

Volunteers Janette Mulloy (left) and Vaishali Sharma get the word out about Community Connect Day on Nov. 17. Photo submitted

Over 120 people to lend a hand at Community Connect

The annual event offers free services at Central School

Submitted

With the rising costs of housing and food, struggling to make ends meet is a familiar reality for an increasing number of households and individuals in the Nelson area.

On Saturday, Nov. 17, more than 120 people will be volunteering for Community Connect Day at Central School in Nelson — a day that recognizes we can take a community approach to support each other.

Once a year the Nelson Committee on Homelessness hosts Community Connect Day, a marketplace of free services, goods, resources and information for any person or family in the community who is struggling to makes ends meet. Community service providers, professionals, businesses and volunteers all come together to offer a warm welcome and free services, goods, information and supports at this free event.

Local businesses offer haircuts, Daybreak Rotary run a free café, teaming up with Kootenay Christian Fellowship, the Legion’s Ladies Auxilliary and local contributing businesses. Dr. Audet and a team of hygienists and the TEETH Clinic offer dental exams and follow-ups; Nelson Family Eyecare and Selkirk Eyecare offer vision testing and follow-up; and nurse practitioners offer health check-ups with other wellness services giving flu shots, foot care, chiropractic, physio and massage services.

Lightly used winter coats from Valhalla Pure’s Coats for the Koots campaign while gently used winter boots come from ShoeBank Canada’s team, winter socks from Covenant Church and knit goods from the Nelson Knitting Club help prepare folks for winter weather. Local businesses are contributing towards wellness packages, café items, personal care items and door prizes.

“The generosity of local businesses, professionals, community groups, service clubs and sponsors in Nelson is amazing,” said Ann Harvey, community co-ordinator of the Nelson Committee on Homelessness.

Meanwhile community, health and public services will be there to CONNECT with people to offer information and support for any issue or problem they may want to ask about, from seniors’ and unemployment benefits to rental or poverty rights, employment and training info, Indigenous services, youth services, LGBTQ2S supports, addictions and harm reduction information and support, women’s services, housing and shelter services or family and early childhood supports.

A new service this year will be a table run by Fortis BC, which will be providing Energy Saving Kits to help bring down energy costs for people with an account with Nelson Hydro or Fortis BC. They will also be encouraging people who rent to apply for energy saving programs and will follow-up with landlords and property managers identified to invite them to consider the programs.

There will be a kid’s corner of activities and face-painting, with child-minding offered for up to 30 minutes for kids of parents who need to attend a service appointment at Connect Day.

An additional 50 volunteers help plan and organize the event, greet and assist guests and service providers, help people feel welcomed and supported, and make the day run smoothly.

“The amount of local support and engagement has been incredible, and this is what makes this great event possible!” says Harvey.

“We are especially grateful for the sponsors of Connect Day, including the Columbia Basin Trust, Nelson Hydro, Royal Bank Canada, Nelson and District Community Complex, Royal Canadian Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary, Nelson Star, Nelson and District Credit Union, Nelson CARES, Salvation Army, Nelson Community Services, Daybreak Rotary, Covenant Church, Kootenay Career Development Services and ANKORS.”

The Nelson Committee on Homelessness is supported with funding from the Homeless Partnering Strategy program of the federal government.