Source: NorthFulton.com

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Bringing ‘hope’ to Roswell
Volunteers hold health, services festival

by Jonathan Copsey

May 01, 2014

The Roswell Day of Hope April 26 saw more than 1,000 needy people take advantage of free health and wellness resources. JONATHAN COPSEY/Staff.
ROSWELL, Ga. – Despite being known for its wealthy residents, there are still a large number of poor and needy in North Fulton. To help those who need it, Roswell volunteers, churches and nonprofits banded together April 26 to hold a "Day of Hope" festival.

Held at Mimosa Elementary School, the Day of Hope offered free shoes, eye exams, haircuts, health screenings and entertainment to the hundreds of families who came out. The services were provided by groups such as the Lion's Club. There were also games and prizes to keep the whole family entertained.

"A lot of people don't realize there are poor people in Roswell," said Brenda Orlans, event organizer. "If you drive up Holcomb Bridge Road, you would never know there are underserved people just a block off the road."

The Day of Hope was created to offer just that – hope – to these families who live so close to those who don't suffer for resources.

"Some kids we have here have never had a bike or even a family photograph," Orlans said. "These are things we take for granted."

Roughly 300 volunteers pulled off the event, which saw nearly 1,000 people take part.

Orlans was quick to point out this was not simply helping those who wanted help, rather it was for those who needed it. Many of the people who attended have no health insurance, yet have serious health problems. One man came in for an eye exam, and the doctors instead found an item lodged in his eye.

"Nothing beats a physical touch," said Chris Curry, a volunteer. "You can give them written instructions, but nothing beats holding their hand and asking, 'what do you need?'"

One nonprofit attending the event was Roswell's HomeStretch, which provides up to 18 months of housing and life skills classes for the homeless to get back on their feet.

"A number of people have come by and even if they don't need the service, they know people who do," said Joan O'Connell, with HomeStretch.

This was the sixth year the event was held in Roswell.

The Day of Hope is led by Hope Roswell, a network of pastors and church leaders from various denominations. Volunteers will often follow up with guests, offering them rides to church. Church services in Spanish have helped to maintain connections with some of the families served.

Hope Roswell also provides for families throughout the year by providing backpacks, holiday dinners and more.

For more on Hope Roswell, visit them online at www.hoperoswell.org.

RN 05-01-14