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Article posted: 1/21/2013 5:16 AM

People in Need Forum at MCC gets word out about survival resources

Submitted by McHenry County College

The 10th annual People in Need Forum, featuring resources to help your neighbors, employees, family and friends will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

This event is open to the public and is beneficial to community volunteers, staff members from human service agencies, civic and government leaders and officials, human resources personnel from area corporations and companies, and faith-based organizations. The forum connects participants to community resources and important information for those in need.

The half-day event will begin with a continental breakfast and registration. Highlights of the morning include educational sessions and informative presentations to help resolve care-receiver issues, with many of the key sessions offered in two different time periods. The popular round-table sessions will return this year with experienced leaders answering questions and facilitating conversations.

Approximately 40 exhibit booths of community, social service, and government agencies in McHenry County will be on display and will provide information about available resources on such timely issues as utility assistance, food stamps, health care, bullying, transportation options, homelessness, affordable housing, debt management, domestic violence legal matters, and veterans' affairs.

According to Bev Thomas, event chairwoman, in response to requests from previous years, participants will have more time to visit the exhibit booths. "Plus, with the layout of the MCC Luecht Conference Center and the adjacent commons area, our visitors will have more room and easier access to all of our booths."

"The forum is available to anyone interested in helping those in need and learning more about the necessary survival resources available in our community," said Thomas, who works for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, Family Violence Coordinating Council and the McHenry County College Center for Non-Profit Leadership.

"While we are fortunate to live in McHenry County with many social service providers, it is often difficult to know how to refer someone to the right place. The process can be confusing and frightening, and the People in Need Forum is an effort to make this easier by giving out important information."

Two previous participants expressed their comments about the forum.

Suzanne Hoban, executive director of the Family Health Partnership Clinic, said "The People in Need Forum is a wonderful opportunity to get to know resources in our community in a meaningful way."

"The People in Need Forum Resource directory is my 'go to' book when providing my clients with much needed resources," said Kim Babiarz, of Options and Advocacy.

"Whether you are a worker at your neighborhood food pantry, a doctor's receptionist, a case manager for a social service agency, or an HR Director, you may be faced with people having multiple and complicated problems and you need to know what community resources are available to help," Thomas said.

Thomas said that the People in Need Forum started in 2003 with 50 attendees and grew to more than 400 last year, which she attributes to a sign of the times.

"We're seeing more and more veterans returning home who need social services, along with others who are downsized from jobs or facing financial crises. The forum is a wonderful way for people to connect service providers with people who care," Thomas said.

The People in Need Forum is sponsored by the McHenry County College Center for Non-Profit Leadership and includes more than 20 other supporting organizations who have generously given staff time and materials. The presenting sponsor new for 2013 is the First Midwest Bank.

Admission is free. Each registered attendee will receive a 2013 People in Need Resource Directory, the only printed directory of its kind in McHenry County. Thanks to generous donations, the directory also will be available on a flash drive.

Registration is available online and questions can be answered at mchenry.edu/peopleinneed or by calling Bev Thomas at (815) 479-7792.

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