'Connect' ready to offer help

DALLAS — Polk County Community Connect will be held Jan. 29 at Living Hope City Church in Dallas.   Polk Connect is a one-day event held annually to provide local homeless individuals and families — or those at risk of homelessness — with needed resources and services.    Event hours will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the church, 450 SE Washington St.   Now in its third year, Polk Connect is returning to the location it was held at in 2012, said Herm Boes, one of the Polk Connect organizers. About 475 people were helped the first year, while attendance was down in 2013, to 380 people. Both years, the majority of people attending Polk Connect — 80 percent the first year and 70 percent the second — were unemployed.    "We are at least hitting the demographics we hope to serve," Boes said.   Services offered to attendees include dental, basic health care, pet care, bike repair, haircuts and clothing. Information regarding children and youth services, education, job assistance, housing, veterans' assistance, benefit programs, and behavioral health will also be offered.    Meals courtesy of James2 Community Kitchen, breakfast before 11 a.m. and lunch after that, will be served all day.   Boes said most volunteer positions have been filled, but organizers still are searching for barbers and hair stylists to help at the event. Those interested in lending a hand — even for part of the day — should call Michelle Bornfleth at 503-623-9664, ext. 2457.   Free transportation is available to and from Polk County Community Connect. Shuttle service will run between Falls City, Monmouth, Independence and West Salem every few hours. However, to ride CARTS buses for free, attendees must receive an event pass. To receive a bus pass and community van schedule, call Boes at 503-569-9364; Bornfleth at 503-623-9664, ext. 2457; or Living Hope City Church at 503-623-6890.


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