Local nonprofits to explain their services at open houses

MIDDLEBURY — More than two dozen Addison County nonprofits will be available to explain their programs and forge new collaborations as part of a Human Services Open House to be held in three separate Middlebury venues on Thursday, May 21.
The open house is being spearheaded by Jeanne Montross, executive director of Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE). Montross had been thinking of organizing an open house just for HOPE, but believed other like-minded organizations could use some additional exposure and explanation of their respective roles in delivering services to the county’s most vulnerable population.
The event is targeted at business groups, civic organizations, school officials, legislators, law enforcement and others who routinely connect with people who could benefit from help for food, housing, clothing, medical care and other essentials.
“We frequently get calls from people new to the human services (network) who want to know what’s available for the people they work with,” Montross explained. “It is important that people know what we do.”
As of Thursday, 28 area human services agencies had signed up to participate in the May 21 open house, scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participants will be dispersed in three separate Middlebury venues: The HOPE community services building on Boardman Street; the state office building off Court Street; and the Counseling Service of Addison County facility in Catamount Park, off Exchange Street.
The participating agencies will have displays, information and staff members available to speak with visitors who want to learn more about programs offering food, housing, education, parenting skills, teen activities, health services and more.
There’s an extra reason to attend, Montross noted. Those who visit all three open house locations will be entered into a prize raffle. Organizers will keep track of attendance in hopes of convening more open houses in the future. Montross would like to see it become a twice-per-year event.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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