By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Despite stormy skies, a drive-thru community resource fair packed itself into a Lynnwood parking lot, pop-up tents spread out with staff masked, handing out pre-packaged information to give away to community members seeking access to resources.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, safety mandates and virus mitigation tactics have prevented Lynnwood area residents from accessing the community resources they need. Romanda Sosa, Director of Social Services for Homage Senior Services had a solution.
On Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, Homage Senior Services teamed up with various community partners to participate in two drive-thru community resource fairs. The idea sprang from Sosa’s participation in a local drive-thru event for voting registration, where she discovered many people were also asking for information about local community resources.
Sosa says that holding community resource fairs is a great way for community members to safely get supplies while making rental assistance program, voter registration, financial aid, and other COVID-related support service information available.
“This way it allows people to be safe, stay in their cars, get the information they need and practice safe distancing,” said Sosa.
Elisabeth Tissell, the Legal Advocacy Manager at Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Snohomish County, says they gladly accepted the invitation to participate.
‘Domestic violence and elder abuse are already taboo in our culture, and the pandemic has severely limited our ability to connect survivors and allies to resources that are usually much more visible and accessible; this, unfortunately, at a time in which reports of domestic violence are on the rise,” said Tissell.
Through the resource fairs, DVS gave away nearly 30 totes with information and resources for people seeking local and confidential support. Packets were available in English and Spanish, containing information including a comprehensive overview of the services provided by DVS, warning signs of abuse and neglect, safety plans, and means of ways to support someone experiencing abuse.
“In a time where people are more isolated and worn down than in recent memory, the hope we offer and the partnerships we forge are irreplaceable,” said Tissell. “We are grateful to continue serving our community in innovative and substantive ways.”
Through collaborating with partners like Homage Senior Services, DVS hopes to establish a broad support network that leverages the community’s strengths and connections to protect and serve the most vulnerable.
Another participant, the Snohomish Ebony Political Action Committee (SEPAC), who works to increase countywide representation of African Americans in elected positions, supported the fair through registering individuals to vote.
“We find it imperative that voter registration be done at every opportunity to include as many voices in political elections as possible,” said Louis Harris, Communications, Press, and Publicity Committee Chair. “We believe this is an essential piece in ensuring that the issues facing the Black Community are addressed through political means.”
“We are happy to participate in the Drive-Thru Community Resource Fair, along with the other organizations, because all of the services that were provided are essential.”