Operation Community Connect set for Oct. 17

Momentum is building for this year’s Operation Community Connect, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Milaca.
Organizer Beth VanderPlaats, the financial assistance services supervisor for Mille Lacs County, is excited about the new classes and features that will be offered for the first time this year.
“Our goal is not just to help families and individuals out on the day of the event, but to provide them with resources to help them better their lives moving forward,” VanderPlaats said.
To that end, OCC is offering two classes this year. A job application and resume course will take place at 10:30 a.m. the day of the event and an interviewing skills workshop is offered at 12:30 p.m.
“We are super excited to have Susan Welinski, who is an employment counselor with Pine Technical College Employment and Training Center, provide these trainings to our OCC participants,” VanderPlaats said.
Aside from the new features, the day also provides domestic abuse advocacy, employment services, child care resources, legal and veteran services, housing information, chemical dependency treatment and housing information, mental health services and more.
Area organizations have also teamed up to offer a free meal, free flu shots, door prizes, free haircuts and clothing and other household items from His Givers, an area nonprofit. First National Bank of Milaca is also sponsoring free children dental services as well.
Coined as the “one-day resource fair for everyone living on little,” Vanderplaats and other organizers hope their efforts improve the lives of those in need across Mille Lacs County. The day not only offers many ways to connect people to needed services, but it also offers a little something extra. VanderPlaats has been working with a local photographer to do just that.
“The details are not finalized, but our goal is help families get a quality picture of their little ones,” she said. “It is my understanding that there are a number of families that are unable to purchase school pictures due to the inability to afford the pictures. I’m really excited about this addition, like they say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ Capturing those little toothless smiles brings such joyful memories for years to come.”
For more information about Operation Community Connect, call 888-270-8208 or 320-983-8208.