Festival brings families services, resources
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.
Do you need help to get services for your children? If so, you're in luck because at the Family Resource Festival you can get one-on-one help to get you started in the process of signing up for services while your children are entertained.
* What: The Family Resource Festival, with diapers, formula, books and more.
* When: Sept. 14; 10 a.m.-noon, with registration at 9:30 a.m.
* Where: City College, 7001 NW 4th Blvd.
* Miscellaneous: Donations of diapers are needed. Drop off at Quality Cleaners in Gainesville and Early Learning Coalition, 4424 NW 13th St.
* 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, library cards — and lunch.
The festival will be held on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m.-noon with registration at 9:30 a.m. at City College at 7001 NW 4th Blvd. next to Home Depot, off Tower Road.
Sheryl Eddie, coordinator of Community Outreach and Development at the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County, said diapers and volunteers are still needed. Diapers can be dropped off at the Early Learning Coalition at 4424 NW 13th St. or at Quality Cleaners in Gainesville. To volunteer, call Eddie at 352-375-4110, ext.131
Eddie said the inaugural festival held last January drew 60 families. She said two festivals are set to be hosted in Gainesville each year, one in east Gainesville and one on the west side of town.
"The goal is to make sure people acquire the services they need and to help them navigate the complexities of the system to meet their children's needs," Eddie said.
For residents in need of bus transportation to City College, there are ways to get there via the city's Regional Transit 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 a.m. and Route 75 leaves the mall at 7:35 a.m. Route 11 runs every 60 minutes until 5:03 p.m. Route 15 runs once an hour starting at 7 a.m., but Route 27 does not run on Saturdays.
Eddie said representatives from Early Learning Coalition, Catholic Charities, Library Partnership, Florida KidCare, Women, Infants and Children, or WIC Food and Nutrition Service, Medicaid, SNAP, or food stamps, and other agencies will be onsite to offer assistance.
For attending 20-minute informational classes and activities, Eddie said participants will receive raffle tickets for a chance to win $25 gift cards. Class topics will include getting the best service from individual agencies, safe sleep and shaken baby syndrome, family support and establishing paternity, how to use the United Way 2-1-1 telephone helpline, family and children's health, breast education and breast feeding and how it affects children's teeth and dental care for children. Diapers and formula will be available for eligible families and the Junior League of Gainesville will provide books for children. Children will enjoy Ronald McDonald and other fun activities.
To apply for services, documents you may need will include the following:
* Proof of age for all children.
* Proof of guardianship, if you are not listed as the parent on the birth certificate.
* Social Security card for parents and children.
* Two proofs of Gainesville/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.
The festival is being funded by a $1,000 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.
Eddie said the festival is a collaboration of organizations coming together to provide a program that would really give people the tools to navigate programs.
"They (participants) can speak to a human being and get the information they need," Eddie said. "We want to help families access the services they need. Going all over to apply for services can be overwhelming."