Access resources at family festival
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Forget driving all over town to access and apply for services because at the inaugural Free Family Resource Festival 2013, residents can receive one-on-one help to apply for those services while the children enjoy a host of activities.
What: The inaugural Free Family Resource Festival 2013 with access to community services under one roof.
When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, with registration at 9:30 a.m.
Where: City College, 7001 NW 4th Blvd.
Information: Call 352-375-4110, ext. 131.
In addition, there will be free diapers, formula and books for infants and children, raffle tickets for adults attending onsite classes — and lunch.
The festival will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, with registration at 9:30 a.m. at City College at 7001 NW 4th Blvd. next to Home Depot off Tower Road.
For residents in need of bus transportation to City College, there are ways to get there via the city’s Regional Transist System.
From east Gainesville, take Routes 11A, 15 or 27 to the Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station and then get Route 5 to the Oaks Mall and Route 75 to City College. On Saturdays, Route 5 leaves downtown every 30 minutes beginning at 7:03 a.m. and Route 75 leaves the mall every 105 minutes starting at 7:35 a.m. Route 11 runs every 60 minutes until 9 a.m. and then every 30 minutes thereafter. Routes 15 and 27 run every 30 minutes.
“Families needing services are overwhelmed, trying to access services and dealing with the complexity of the paperwork required to prove eligibility,” said Sheryl Eddie, community outreach coordinator of the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County, which will be set up at the festival. Eddie said participants will receive one-on-one attention and computer assistance to apply for services, all under one roof.
She said representatives from the Early Learning Coalition, Catholic Charities and Library Partnership will help families organize the documentation required to deal with social services and/or the legal system.
For attending informational classes and activities, Eddie said, participants will receive raffle tickets for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Class topics will include getting the best service from individual agencies, safe sleep and shaken baby syndrome, dealing and coping with stress, how organizations work together to benefit kids, how children deal with stress and other subjects.
Diapers and formula will be available for eligible families and the Junior League will provide books for children. Children will enjoy Ronald McDonald and activities provided by O2B Kids. In addition, participants could receive organizers with information about individual program requirements and documents needed.
To apply for services, documents you may need will include the following:
— Proof of age for all children.
— Proof of guardianship if not listed as the parent on the birth certificate.
— Social Security card for parents and children.
— Two proofs of Alachua County residency.
— Valid picture identification, such as a driver’s license.
— Proof of earned and unearned income.
— Letter of eligibility for food stamps and/or Medicaid for the last 30 days.
Agencies participating in the event will include Catholic Charities, Child Advocacy Center, Children’s Home Society, Children’s Legal Services, Department of Children and Families, Florida Kid Care, Guardian Ad Litem, Healthy Families, Head Start, Healthy Start, Medicaid, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare , Partnership for Strong Families, Peaceful Paths, Alachua County Crisis Center, Library Partnership, and others.
The festival is being funded by a $1,500 grant from the Gator Exchange Club, a group of men and women who work together to make the community a better place to live through programs of service.
“The festival is a collaboration of organizations coming together to provide a program that would really give people the tools to navigate programs,” Eddie said. “We want to help families access the services they need. Going all over to apply for services can be overwhelming.”
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.