The Macon County Library was host to an inaugural NC Works Community resource fair and mini pop-up market last Friday. A wide range of community resources were available to help folks in need. Whether you were looking for help to quit smoking, peer support for drug treatment, Medicare and Medicaid plans, child care or employment training, an array of representatives were there to offer assistance and advice.
Paula Alter, Career Center Manager for the Macon, Jackson and Swain County NCWorks Career Centers explains that this new, collaborative event has been one of her goals since taking on the manager role.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our residents to interact with 22 resource organizations in one convenient location. On the flip side, it will also allow these organizations to interact with each other and become better informed of available services. Our event mantra is ‘Be connected. Feel empowered. Get informed. Leave with hope. There’s no question that it takes all of us, working in partnership, to help our residents become job ready and overcome potential barriers in keeping a job. If successful, we plan to make this an annual event.”
A special feature was the presence of a Manna Food Bank Pop-Up Market. Those wishing to receive food assistance were asked to enter the library, register with the welcome table to obtain a Macon County Community Passport and visit three additional resources to have their passport validated. According to Alter, “By using the passport, we’re hoping that those needing food assistance will also find additional and beneficial resources.”
More than 120 people were served through the available community resources and 108 people took advantage of the free food giveaway. Fresh fruits and vegetables were among the many choices as well as drinks, chips and baked goods. Leftover food was donated to Union Academy students and Full Circle Recovery’s homeless program.
Another Pop-Up Market is scheduled at the Macon County Fairgrounds on Monday, Dec. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m.