BY SHERI TRUSTY
Ottawa County has a strong foundation of agencies that exist to address physical, emotional and mental health needs for every age. During Ottawa County Community Day on Friday, May 12, 58 individuals and organizations spread across 72 booths shared resources, offered services, and gave away fun swag.
“It’s bigger and better than we expected,” said Ottawa County Family and Children First Council Executive Director Stephanie Cavanaugh, who organized the event with Ottawa County Health Educator Michelle Veliz. “We started with 15 organizations, and today we have 58. There are so many giving hearts and souls here.”
The goal of the event was to highlight the mass of resources available in the county. Often, local residents seeking services don’t know the extent of the assistance that is available. When they walked into the Community Day event, they were greeted by dozens of people who wanted nothing more than to help.
Among them was OSU Extension SNAP-Ed Program Assistant Brenda Brahier, who handed out free coloring books, games and other freebies that promoted the benefits of healthy eating to families. Jean Lindsay-Dupey from Transitional Housing shared information on housing assistance in the county, and Ottawa County Veterans Services Director Sara Toris had a table full of informational literature.
“We’re letting veterans and their families know what benefits are out there for them,” Toris said.
Ottawa County Health Department Registered Nurse Linda Fox talked to visitors about the opportunity for income-eligible clients to receive free cribs and car seats through the Cribs for Kids and Safe Kids programs.
CrossFit Port Clinton owner Lexis Bauer shared information on fitness classes, including special classes for kids, military veterans and people in recovery.
Sarah Nation, a magistrate with Ottawa County Common Pleas Court, taught cardio drumming and introduced event goers to her therapy dog, Lacey.
Connie North, a Workforce Development Employment Specialist with Ottawa County Jobs & Family Services, said she was “handing out free smiles.” With her was J&FS Assistant Director Emily Gerbe, who said the event not only gave local residents the opportunity to learn about county resources, but it also served as an impactful networking experience for the participating organizations.
“It’s helping us keep up on what other service are available to our clients in the community, so we can point them in the right direction to other agencies that can help them,” Gerber said.