County gathers resources to help the homeless, less fortunate
Community Resource Day offers free help, assistance
On Oct. 5, the Charles County Homeless and Emergency Shelter Committee hosted its annual Community Resource Day at the Greater Waldorf Jaycees Community Center. Corae Young, Life Styles Inc. assistant director and co-chair of the committee, said the event makes it possible to serve the community at one location for one day.
The event is sponsored each year to assist the homeless population in the community with a one-stop shop to access local services that are available to them. This year’s event included more than 50 services provided by various local departments and organizations in the county. There were volunteers on hand to help navigate clients through the agencies participating that day.
“Anyone who is homeless, couch surfing, living in a tent, or is about to be evicted, can come in today and see how we can connect them with services,” Young said. “This is not just about brochure shopping, it’s about meeting each person’s needs by connecting them with housing, education, health services, food and clothing. We also provide them transportation to those services if necessary.”
Young said the committee has made some major
improvements to this year’s resource day.
“Some of the complaints we’ve heard form our clients is in regards to transportation, being able to go from one agency to the other is challenging for them,” Young said. “We have VanGo tickets and gas cards available to get to a follow-up appointment for future services. We have a larger homeless population that is growing and a lot of people who are just living on the edge. I put myself in the shoes of the people we serve so this day is about doing better.”
Michael Bellis, United Way of Charles County executive director and co-chair of the committee, said many visitors were able to pre-register people for services, receive flu shots, get HIV testing, hair cuts, birth certificates and sign-up for Safe Nights registration.
“I’m so glad people continue to come out and it continues to grow every year, but moreover I’m saddened that we have to continue to have this day,” Bellis said. “I wish there was no need for this. We want to accomplish our mission. We want this problem to be solved so that we’re serving less people. Unfortunately the need is growing in our community. The gap between the haves and the have nots in our community, that chasm is only widening. I wish it wasn’t needed but in the meantime they are receiving the resources they need.”
Beverly Brown, Charles County Department of Health fiscal account clerk supervisor, helped create free birth certificates for the less fortunate. She was able to help 70 people last year and hoped to help over 100 this year.
“For the last five years our department has been giving birth certificates to the homeless,” Brown said. “They must have to have an ID and be born in the state of Maryland and there’s no charge. Plus if they don’t have an ID, there is a voucher we give them to stop by the health department to pick it up later. Once they do this they can go apply for housing and other programs. Typically it’s $25 for a birth certificate and they get it here for free today.”
Nicole Quiros and Jacqueline Quan of Feli’s Salon & Spa in Waldorf were seen giving free haircuts to the less fortunate, organized by Bridgette Young from Blades School of Hair Design in California, Md.
Young said the free haircuts make the people who come in feel better about themselves.
La Plata residents Lorene Garner and her son Joseph Garner received free hair cuts from the volunteers and were truly pleased with the final reveal.
“These girls are such a blessing,” Lorene said. “When they said free haircuts I said I would take a chance and Bridget did really good. A lot of times you don’t have anywhere to go and they’re here giving us nice haircuts on this nice day. I’ve had bad experiences before with getting my hair cut but she has actually asked questions about how I want my hair to look.”
“We just want to give back to the community for the people who can’t really afford haircuts,” Quiros said. “We love what we do and it feels great.”
Nicole Quiros, a hair stylist at Feli’s Salon & Spa, gives La Plata resident Joseph Garner a hair cut at Community Resource Day at the Waldorf Jaycees on Oct. 5.
Terry Antonioli, a nurse with the Charles County Department of Health, gives a patient a flu shot at the Community Resource Day at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center on Oct. 5.
On Oct. 5, Bridgette Young of Blades School of Hair Design in California, Md., gives La Plata resident Lorene Garner a hair cut at Community Resource Day.