JEFFERSON CITY — Project Homeless Connect hosted its sixth-annual event on Friday.
Project Homeless Connect planning committee member Karen Taylor said the event provides resources for those who are homeless or near homelessness.
The event included free food, vaccinations and a number of resources to assist in taking care of medical concerns.
“Typically we would provide all kinds of service in-house, but we’re not—just not able to do that,” Taylor said. “We even wondered if we would even be able to do it this year, but we felt it was such an important event for those folks in our community.”
The event had around 30 volunteers and 89 guests. In previous years, the event went longer, and they served more guests. They had to cut the event down to only two hours due to the pandemic.
“We typically have had between 150 and 200 guests,” Taylor said.
Sirena Meek went to the event to get assistance in a number of things offered.
“I need dental work, glasses, shots,” Meek said. “I need a doctor, primary care as well.”
Meek, like many of the guests at the event, has recently faced some hard times. She has been in and out of prison and has utilized the shelters at The Salvation Army in Jefferson City.
“It’s been a struggle for me, but overall I’m trying to survive, you know,” Meek said. “Taking it one day at a time.”
Meek said a lot of the homeless population in Jefferson City are appreciative for events like these during the pandemic; however, sometimes people are reluctant to receive the help.
“Most of the time, it’s the pride, you know, that holds them back from, you know, reaching out, getting the help they need,” Meek said.
Meek now has a job lined up and will use the help she received at the event to get back on her feet.
“I’ve actually been in and out of prison since I was 19, and I really haven’t had a stable place to live since I was 15,” Meek said. “This will be a tremendous help for me to be able to start a new life.”
The Salvation Army Jefferson City will continue to host other events and provide assistance to the homeless and near-homeless community heading into the colder months.
“It just raises awareness for the community of Jefferson City, that there is homelessness, that issue that we need to work together as a community to address,” Taylor said.
For more information on how you can donate or get involved, visit the Project Homeless Connect Jefferson City website for more details.