Resource Fair enlightens residents at Gentile Apartments
At Springfield Housing Authority’s Gentile Apartments, residents got an education in matters concerning health, finance, and more, all in the comfort of the Community Room on the ground floor of their homes.
The recent Resource Fair featured representatives from several service industries and organizations in a program aimed at helping to make life easier for those living at the housing development for elderly residents and those living with disabilities.
For Gentile residents like Frank Banach, the session provided valuable tools he will use on an ongoing basis to help make important decisions in his life. He stopped at every table on his way through the fair.
“This is awesome,” he said. “There are a lot of good things here that you can learn and read up on and use in the future. I will definitely be doing that.”
SHA Executive Director Denise Jordan said the fair is one of many educational and informative events offered on a regular basis at public housing developments across the city.
“We welcome efforts to help educate our residents and let them know of programs, businesses and services that can help them to make their lives better,” she said. “This day at Gentile was a great example of that.”
The Resource Fair came to Gentile courtesy of SHA’s Resident Services Department, with Site Coordinator Candra Cripps leading the way.
Cripps said the fair provideed useful information and tools to residents.
“Our turnout is very good and we are happy about that,” Cripps said. “It’s working out very well. We’re happy to bring together organizations that can help our residents in so many ways.”
Helping organize the event was Seneida Torres, whose company, the Traveling Vendor Fair Group, puts together resource fairs across the region to help low-income families and individuals access businesses and other services.
Vendors present included A Better Life Home Care, D.P. Insurance and Financial Services, Louis & Clark Pharmacy, Womanshelter/Compañeras, and Westfield Bank. At each table were company and organization representatives ready to guide visitors through their services and offerings. Many gave gifts including pens and pencils, water bottles, keychains and candy. There was also a raffle, with a gift donated by each organization represented at the fair.
Sarah Kapinos, a business development specialist with Louis and Clark, said the day was meant to educate and offer assistance.
“We’re here to let the community know that there is help with medical care management. We do management of medications as well as other areas of medical need,” Kapinos said.
At the Womanshelter/Compañeras table, representative Ehra Rodriguez explained the agency’s services to Gentile residents in both English and Spanish.
“We’re here to reach out to the community and let folks know that we offer services to them, or to anyone they know whether it be family or friend, who is in an abusive or harmful situation,” Rodriguez said. “This is great. We’ve reached a lot of people. We’re delighted to spread the word of what we have to offer.”
Residents were happy to pick up pamphlets, speak to representatives, and gather information for resources they know they will use.
“This is very good for all of us,” said Gentile resident Gail Turner, long an active tenant who serves as president of the Gentile Apartments Tenants Association.
“We’ve had some fairs in the past but we’ve never had this many vendors. There’s just so much hear to learn and get more information on, and you can see by the crowd that it’s drawn a lot of interest from our residents,” Turner added.
Gentile residents Lula Berry and Paula Girard agreed that the event was fun as well as informative.
“It’s wonderful,” said Berry as the two sat having a snack and a chat in the Community Room.
“It’s so great to see our neighbors out here and participating in something so good for us.”
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