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Thursday event offers community information

WILLMAR -- Heartland Community Action Agency and several local partners will host a Community Connect event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar.

The event is free and open to the public. Chili will be served and free child care will be available in the church nursery. Free household and personal hygiene products will also be available.

Community Connect is designed to give people in the community information about community resources, including housing, youth opportunities, schools, community meals, food distributions, the faith community and area health services.

Initial plans for the event focused on homeless families, but the partners decided it would be helpful to open it up to anyone who was interested, Debi Brandt of Heartland said.

The fellowship hall at Bethel will be lined with tables with representatives of local agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses.

A Willmar Police Department representative will be on hand to talk about safety in the community. Kandiyohi County Public Health will provide free blood pressure and blood sugar checks. Information about free community meals will be provided.

Child guides from Willmar schools will be on hand. Head Start staff members will be working in the nursery.

"It's a snapshot of our community right there in Bethel Church," Brandt said. "I think it's just a nice way of all the service providers coming together. ... No agency can do it alone to help people get out of poverty."

So many service providers were interested in the event that some had to be turned away because there wasn't enough space, Brandt said. The organizers plan to make it an annual event, so they are taking names of providers who couldn't be fit in this year, she added.

Partners in the event include Heartland, Bethel Lutheran Church, the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Service and Kandiyohi County Community Corrections.

For more information, please contact Debi or Rhonda at 320-235-0850.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340