Submitted by Renata Rollins for Reach out at the Well
Free community fair aims to foster courageous community caretaking
The free community fair is hosted by the Olympia Outreach Workers League, a coalition of nearly a dozen downtown service organizations who operate with generous volunteer support. Participating organizations setup booths and provide information on their services and volunteer opportunities.
“We aim to uplift the downtown neighborhood through strengthening relationships, cultivating networks, and encouraging volunteerism,” said Renata Rollins, event organizer and a coordinator with the Outreach Workers League. “It’s all about the ethic of courageous community caretaking. It takes a village to raise a village.”
All are welcome, whether seeking volunteer opportunities or a little help getting through a rough patch, or even just to get in touch with the Downtown Neighborhood.
With winter weather approaching, there’s a big push for volunteers at the local shelters, when they experience a swell in their overnight numbers.
“Volunteering is fun and provides community members with the opportunity to directly engage with children and families,” said Natalie Moran of the Family Support Center, which opened the family shelter, Pear Blossom Place, in July. “We welcome children to volunteer alongside their parents. Without the dedication and support of volunteers, the community’s largest homeless family shelter would not be possible.”
“We encourage groups, churches, schools and any other interested organization to consider volunteering together to cover a certain period of time,” said Meg Martin, shelter director with Interfaith Works, whose new Emergency Overnight Shelter opens November 1 at First Christian Church. “We are also looking for volunteers to share skills, information and teach enrichment classes as well. This is a great way to gain a better understanding of an important social issue that extends far beyond our downtown.”
The Downtown Neighborhood Association will join the fall event, along with returning groups such as Covenant Creatures, which gives out free pet food and supplies at the fair; several youth and family organizations; and free/low-cost health clinics and services. Sea-Mar Clinic will offer Medicaid enrollment for those who qualify. The Downtown Ambassadors will serve as official greeters, serving up free hot coffee donated by Burial Grounds.
The event runs noon to 3 p.m. on Friday October 17 at downtown’s Artesian Commons Park, commonly called “the Well,” at 415 E. Fourth Ave.