By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
EVERETT — Jared Brotherton said he walked from Edmonds along Highway 99 to get to Project Homeless Connect on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Lynnwood man needed help in finding a home and getting medication for his anxiety. He also received treatment for an injury on his left foot.
“Everything is here,” Brotherton said about Homeless Connect.
Receiving help from different organizations provided Brotherton with a sense of hope.
“That’s love. It chokes me up,” he said.
Brotherton was one of hundreds of people who attended the event at Cascade High School. The project helps people by giving free medical check-ups, school supplies and referrals to social services focusing on housing, mental health and chemical dependency programs among other things.
Men, women, children and even pets filled the gymnasium at the high school. Some waited in line for help.
This was the fourth year of the program. It is intended to help people who have no means of transportation and need access to community services, said Suzanne Pate, spokeswoman for the Snohomish Health District.
“I wish we could do it more often,” Pate said.
The event started at 9 a.m., but people lined up hours before that, said Jess Kaufman, a Snohomish County human services specialist and coordinator of Project Homeless Connect.
In total there were almost 400 volunteers from more than 60 organizations.
United Way of Snohomish County helped recruit and organized some of the volunteers. Other organization, such as Snohomish Health District, Catholic Community Services and the Everett Animal Shelter, provided their services.
According to preliminary numbers, more than 1,000 people signed up for the event. Kaufman said the event served about 1,200 last year.
About 1,150 meals were served and 670 bags and backpacks with toiletries were distributed, said Neil Parekh, spokesman for United Way of Snohomish County and one of the volunteers for the project.
Everett-resident Avery Ratley, 39, was waiting for his turn to have his blood pressure checked. He also came to get a haircut and for some dental work.
“I really needed them,” he said. “People need events like this. These are the essentials.”
Quillen Ely, 59, of Smokey Point, came to get help finding a job and legal counsel. She said the event was good because of all the staff who provided hope to those attending.
“They are lifting people up,” she said,
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.