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Latrobe Street Mission offers resource fair

Event open to clients, community

Rebecca Eaton, left, director of clinical services for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, was among the employees of the agency who attended Thursday’s resource fair at the Latrobe Street Mission. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — The Latrobe Street Mission brought together public agencies and potential employers Thursday to assist its clients and other residents of the community.

Anna Dobbins, administrative assistant at the mission which provides shelter for the homeless and a variety of other services, said the organization has brought in entities like the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Veterans Administration and prospective employers before, but usually not at the same time.

“I just thought, why not do it all together?” she said.

The event wasn’t limited only to people staying at the facility.

“This was more for our community than it was just for the mission,” said Pastor Jim Sims, assistant director of operations. “We want to bring value to our neighborhood.”

The Health Department was there to administer Hepatitis A vaccinations and provide STD and HIV testing. Rebecca Eaton, director of clinical services for the Health Department, said they’ve been going to places like the Salvation Army, food pantries and more to reach out to folks who might not be aware of the agency’s services or feel there’s a stigma attached to going to the offices on Sixth Street.

“We’re trying to get the people who have been homeless protected,” she said.

Dobbins estimated about 150 people came to the fair, which ran from 10 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. She and Sims said they’d like to put a similar event together early in 2020, and Eaton said the Health Department will be there.

Mission client and volunteer Jamie Jordan said he applied to the Department of Health and Human Resources for a medical card and food benefits at the event.

“It’s a good thing they did,” he said of the fair.

Among the employers in attendance were REO Logistics, a plastic tolling company based at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport’s industrial park, and Cornerstone Building Brands, which includes Simonton Windows and PlyGem Industries.

“Most of these employers are what we consider ‘felony friendly,'” Sims said. “A lot of these folks need a second chance because of a felony drug offense.”

Rob Estep, director of operations for REO, said the company employs about 100 people between three shifts and office staff.

“And we need more,” he said. “We want to … give people a second chance and benefit our needs because we’re growing really fast.”

Both REO and Cornerstone offer transportation from the Mission for employees in the area.

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