Several local organizations provided food and resources to the poor at the “Everbody Counts” event on Saturday.
Father Patrick Funston of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church observed the event allowed the poor to connect to organizations that provide assistance.
“It just takes a couple hours or one hour to go around to get on lists and to meet all of the people that you need to meet in order to get the resources you might need,” Funston said.
Pastor Patrick McLaughlin of the First United Methodist Church said the event allowed the poor to provide their thoughts on how to improve the community.
“The name of the event, Everybody Counts, is very intentionally chosen. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the socioeconomic spectrum. Everybody truly does count and have a voice and we want to incorporate that into how we move forward as a community together,” McLaughlin said.
Stan Ward of the Manhattan-Ogden school district observed poverty is a problem that affects children as well as adults.
“An event like this gives us an opportunity to meet with families before school starts, to make connections to make sure our children get into programs that we have in the school district,” Ward said.
Jessica Care, a manager at the charitable group Harvesters, explained poverty in Riley County is more prevalent people may assume.
“We know in this region 1 in 8 people are food insecure. We look at things like the poverty guideline, but we know that’s not the full story. We know people are working or going to school and still not making it,” Care said.
The event gave away thousands of pounds of food, had doctors and dentists available for checkups, and had bouncy houses for the kids.