REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE OWOSSO MASONIC Lodge #81 on Washington Street recently made a $1,000 check presentation to Project Connect. Shown on either side of Project Connect chair Becky Zemla, were Owosso Masonic Lodge members Russ Merrel and Patrick Finnegan.(Courtesy Photo)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
Project Connect is a day of free services offered for all low-income Shiawassee County residents and veterans, and the 11th annual Project Connect event is planned for Thursday, Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will be held at the Owosso First Church of the Nazarene at 1865 S. M-52.
In 2017, Project Connect, organized through the Shiawassee County Homeless Coalition, served a total of 133 low-income households representing 400 individuals. The largest percentage of those households were from Owosso and Corunna, though all areas of Shiawassee County were represented in the demographics.
Project Connect will again offer a variety of assistance to those in need. All low-income residents and veterans will be offered free lunch, haircuts, hygiene products, new backpacks, legal services, employment and housing assistance, nutrition classes, depression and health screenings, and more. Veterans services will include VA healthcare, peer support, mental health, home repair grant information, and more.
During the 2017 Project Connect event, 2,676 services were provided related to health screenings, childcare, clothing, employment, mentoring, and in numerous other areas.
Becky Zemla, Shiawassee Center Coordinator for Capital Area Community Services, Inc. and the chair for both the Shiawassee Homeless Coalition and Project Connect, is eagerly seeking volunteers and organizations to assist with the one-day event. Twenty-five to 30 volunteers are needed to offer assistance as guides to help people through the process or even just to help set up tables or organize parking. There is a particularly strong need for licensed beauticians or hairdressers to offer free haircuts, as that is an expense that many low-income people can’t afford. Businesses or organizations willing to donate reusable shopping bags would be appreciated. Any help from health and human services groups, educational groups, churches, or related groups is also needed.
For information on registration or to help out, please call Becky at (989) 723-3115.