Project Connect in Apache Junction

February 13 event credited with helping residents

The day before Valentines Day was a chilly and blustery day, but that didn’t keep the 18 service agencies from wrapping social services around individuals in need. The purpose of this event was to gather social services agencies all under one roof in an attempt to make it easier for guests to cobble missing pieces to their life puzzle. Usually an individual has to stop off at multiple agencies that are located miles apart. This can be challenging for those with limited transportation.

“It was wonderful to see the true intent of the Project Connect event happen right before our very eyes” said Mannie Bowler, executive director of the United Way of Pinal County. Ms. Bowler continued, “We had several guests that the Lions Club determined needed follow-up eye care, but realized the guests didn’t know of available health benefits. The Lions Club member walked the guests to the health access providers and introduced them. Those guests ended up applying for AHCCCS.

“Another example was an elderly woman who needed a government issued phone, but also needed Meals on Wheels in addition to other services. The magic was that, within minutes, the guest had made contact with both agencies and started processes to take care of both. These are tasks that would have taken days or weeks to accomplish outside the event.”

Some of the greatest impacts were that 11 individuals received vision assessments donated by the Gold Canyon Lions Club, 8 individuals received haircuts from Sindy’s Just Cuts, 6 free telephones were distributed and clothes and personal hygiene items were available, thanks to community donations.

Mayor Jeff Serdy and Vice Mayor Chip Wilson visited with guests and agencies at the event. “It was great to see all the segments of our community participate in this effort and show just how many programs are available. We hope they will spread the word that help is out there for basic needs, finding jobs and other connections, and get people off the street,” said Mayor Serdy.

The participating agencies unanimously agreed that if one person was helped, then the event was a success, and they are looking forward to helping this project grow over the next few years.

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