Originally Published: September 17, 2015 6 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Being "part of the solution" is the focus of the fourth annual Hope Fest, which will take place at the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza in downtown Prescott on Oct. 3.
Scheduled from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, Hope Fest offers a host of resources to meet the immediate needs of veterans, the hungry, the homeless, those affected by domestic violence, and their families in the Prescott area.
Along with essential services, the event also promises a free, fun family environment. "Kids will love the Family Fun Zone as it comes alive with games, skits, dancers, bouncy houses, face painters, and much more," a news release from Hope Fest states.
In addition, the event will feature music and speakers, as well as services in health, housing, recovery, education, job opportunities, and family resources.
Event Coordinator Jaye Lene Long pointed out that many local families are in need of basic services.
"Did you know that one in three working families in Arizona struggles to provide their family's most basic needs and that in the nearly 4,000 homeless families in Arizona tonight, there are over 5,000 children?" an event news release states. "Arizona is home of approximately 2,000 homeless veterans, and ... many become homeless with their families."
In addition, Long said, "More than 500 children in Yavapai County are in the foster-care system" - one of the statistics that she said "moved us to tears, and then to do something."
Among the anticipated health checks and resources listed on the Hope poster are: a blood drive; blood pressure checks; cancer information and support; children's health checks; dental checks and referral; diabetes information; eye exams; HIV testing; and stop-smoking resources.
The event also is expected to include more than 30 family support services, such as adoption and foster-care connections, Bibles, bicycle repair and safety, child booster seats, clothing, food security, fire-safety plans, and suicide prevention, including increased participation from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Listed veteran family services include counseling resources, housing, job assistance, and post-traumatic stress resources.
"More veterans service organizations are participating this year than ever before," the Hope Fest news release stated.
Included: Guitars for Vets, who will do a special main-stage presentation to a local veteran; eThos Ministries; Wounded Warrior Project; Veterans First; US Vets; Patriot Guard Riders; Soldiers Best Friend; and RecFX.
The event aims to make "a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors while showing them God's love," according to Hope Fest information.
In preparation for Hope Fest, organizers are seeking donations of coats, gloves, sweatshirts, pajamas, underwear, shoes and socks, blankets, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, batteries, and diapers and wipes.
Information about Hope Fest, as well as about volunteering for the event, is available online at www.HopeFestAZ.com, or by calling 928-387-4673.