Thrive2Survive hosted its one-stop shop for services and resources Saturday.
Everything from job assistance and free clothing to mental health connections was available at the semi-annual event hosted at Living Hope Church.
“The event was a dream come true, for sure,” said Charles Hanset, founder and president of Thrive2Survive. “Originally, we thought this would be a smaller one for the event, but then we ended up having more than we’ve ever had.”
Throughout the five-hour event, 690 residents walked through the church’s doors, according to Hanset.
Mike Deeley sat at one of the tables in the middle of the large church, sipping hot coffee from a paper cup. A stack of multicolored flyers sat next to him.
Deeley has been experiencing homelessness and living in his car for the past two years.
He said he attends the event to access resources for himself, such as housing information, but he also collects flyers to bring to other people living outside. He also shares his faith with others by bringing them information about the church, which he has attended for years.
“I try to do my part in outreach … give them maybe some food, and something to look forward to with the flyers and tell them about (faith),” Deeley said.
The event occurred at Living Hope Church, the same faith-based group overseeing the second Safe Stay Community, Hope Village. Brian Norris, the outreach coordinator for the church, said that Living Hope works to partner with organizations like Thrive2Survive.
“It’s so hard to just see those in our community who get overlooked or may not have access to the resources,” Norris said. “It is in our hearts to work with one another. It’s not about whose name is out there doing the work, but all of us coming together and doing our part.”
Hanset began his outreach efforts after entering recovery. In 2018, the first Thrive2Survive event served a hot meal, provided clothes and connected resources to the houseless community.
“It’s come a long way from me in the back of my little station wagon, handing out resources,” Hanset said. “Everything has just been a dream come true,”
He gave a grateful nod to the Thrive2Survive staff and the volunteers who attended each event. Saturday’s event attracted 70 volunteers.
The Thrive2Survive organization received a $20,000 check from Amerigroup. The sponsorship will go toward the group’s general pool for funding the organization.
The next Thrive2Survive event is anticipated for Sept. 16. For community members who would like to donate or access more information about the event and Thrive2Survive, visit: www.thrive2survivewa.org.
This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.