KALISPELL — An annual event in the Flathead that connects those in need to community services has a simple motto that goes a long way.
“To help people in need throughout the Flathead Valley,” Northwest Montana United Way Executive Director Roxanna Parker told MTN News.
This year’s “Winter Warm Up” runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday inside the Gateway Community Center at 1203 US Highway 2 in Kalispell.
“Right now, we have 44 agencies that have signed up and are participating, the event is tomorrow, and we will have everything from housing and shelter services, veteran's resources, healthcare, we will be serving a hot lunch and of course we have lots of free items,” said Parker.
Free items include winter clothing for both children and adults. “And then we will have some tents and sleeping bags to help out anyone that’s experiencing literal homelessness,” added Parker.
Parker expects up to 600 people to attend Friday’s event as the demand for help is high in Flathead County.
“We’re experiencing a higher number of homeless issues, just housing issues in general and then employment, lots of other issues going on so, this our opportunity really to reach out and focus those resources to the people who need it the most,” said Parker.
Flathead Family Planning, an affiliate of the Flathead City-County Health Department will be providing free healthcare resources including take-home HIV tests.
“Of course, we can make any referral that a person could ever want, and we operate sexual healthcare that is free or low cost so, we just tell people about that so they can come and access our services if they need anything beyond what we can offer here,” said Flathead Family Planning HIV Prevention Specialist Shawna Himsl.
Free bus service to the event will be provided by Mountain Climber from any regular bus stop.