Project Community Connect reaches hundreds in need - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Project Community Connect reaches hundreds in need

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Those in need gathered together Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at a special event where they had access to all sorts of organizations in one place. It's part of an effort to help end homelessness and joblessness in Rochester.

The parking lot of Mayo High School was packed Friday but school wasn't in session.

"Because we do have so much wealth and richness and we have the Mayo Clinic people don't understand that we do have people struggling," said Jennifer Johnson of Project Community Connect.

A crowd gathered for Project Community Connect. It's organized to help those barely able to make ends meet.

"We do have families that sleep in cars and we have people living in houses with other individuals or couch-hopping or even completely out on the streets right now," Johnson said. "We do have a problem and I think it's a lot of problems that people don't see or don't realize that we have in the community but it is real and it's here."

Lanice Bryant suffers from osteoarthritis. Without a phone she can't make calls for help and she's left vulnerable.

"I can't afford a cell phone, a lot of people can't afford phones, they're expensive," Bryant said. "It's good they put it on there every month. You can't ask for anything better."

Besides vision checks, hair cuts, medical help and so much more, attendees were able to learn more about Life Wireless. It's a service that provides people in need with a phone and free minutes every month. She describes the daily struggles of living without something so many take for granted.

"Hectic. I use other people's phones," Bryant said. "The landlord where I stay, the office phones, things like that."

Part of the project community connect effort isn't tangible but it's the confidence people need to get back on their feet.

"When you see someone come in and they get their hair cut and they look at themselves in the mirror and they're smiling again it gives extra confidence and there's a lot of different things with dressing the part and feeling better. If you don't have those special things in your life sometimes it's easier to feel more beat down," Johnson said. "It's depressing and it's very hard to keep going."

Eventually organizers hope there won't be a need for their services. The goal to stop homelessness and joblessness in our own backyard.

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