|By Kie Relyea, The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Called Project Homeless Connect, the sixth annual effort also brought in hundreds of volunteers and service providers to offer that aid, which seemed as necessary now as ever.
"We had a line almost to Cornwall (Avenue) this morning," said
Inside the school and down one crowded hallway, a woman picking up a small bag of essential items -- with signs reading Love, Hope, Faith tucked inside -- gave a thank you to
Colwell, who noticed how much socks were in demand when she volunteered at the event last year, said she was there Friday because helping others is a part of life.
"They need socks and it's a simple thing," she said. "We're called to be of service to other people and to help other people in need."
The ministry had created more than 200 bags of essential items, which included tissue, lip balm and bandages, and its volunteers were giving away more than 400 pairs of socks.
Across the hallway, people were selecting free blankets and, elsewhere, were picking up clothing.
Project Homeless Connect provided an array of free and confidential services that included hearing screenings, medical exams, women's health care, information on veterans' benefits, legal aid and housing help, as well as breakfast and lunch.
"I've heard about this, but I've never been to one of these before," he said. "I got some nice jackets for the kids for the winter coming up. It's a great thing they put together here."
Wesley, who wore glasses, also had hoped to get his eyes checked, but said the wait was too long.
If some services were meant to help stabilize those in need, others gave them a little something special -- from haircuts to photos to a sketch of themselves.
"I wanted to do it for the experience," the
She was there with her mother, 40-year-old
They had just moved from
Harms said they might look at available clothing, as well as check into medical services.
"I think it's great what they're doing," Thompson said as she sat next to her mother.
"I want to give back what
Simmons also talked about giving back to the community and doing his part.
"I know there are a lot of people who need help," he said. "All of us volunteering together make a difference, and I want to be part of that."
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