Project Connect finds help for citizens in need

REED CITY — For the third year, the Mecosta-Osceola Poverty Reduction Initiative will once again link area families in need with services they could desperately use with its Project Connect event.

“It’s a one-stop shop where service agencies and community members can come together in one space,” said Chastity Eads, a member of the Project Connect Committee. “We can provide services for families and individuals in need, including some who are on the verge of homelessness.”

In order to draw in more residents of Osceola County, this year Project Connect will be held in Reed City. It is free to attendees and will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the Church of the Nazarene. The event will connect local families with dozens of service agencies and organizations, ranging in areas from healthcare to financial assistance.

“This is a whole multi-service, cross-service event,” Eads said. “We do have a pretty good database of organizations to draw from.”

Last year, 100 people attended the event. Eads said organizers plan to provide enough services to target 160 individuals in need.

Service providers will be set up in “service neighborhoods,” which include children’s services, health awareness, seniors and veterans, basic needs, housing, education and employment and financial areas.

Typical services in which attendees can partake range from haircuts to voter registration to mock job interviews.

Several agencies in attendance this year include the Mecosta-Osceola Great Start Collaborative and programs such as Head Start, which will come and do an enrollment program for its preschool. The health department also will give flu shorts and other vaccinations.

The organizers are still hoping to connect with an Osceola County-based dental and medical provider.

When attendees first show up, they have to register and fill out basic demographic information. A free, on-site lunch will be provided during the event. An on-site food bank containing food and personal care items also will be available for attendees when they check out.

Free transportation will be provided by MOTA.

“We hope to have Project Connect be a success in Osceola County and get more of the community from Osceola County involved,” Eads said.

Today is the deadline for agencies to participate. Agencies must submit an agency participation form either by fax at (231) 592-9604 or by email at

For more information, to volunteer or participate as a service organization, contact Charity Eads at (231) 592-9605.