The Community Resource Fair will be held Saturday, Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Boones Mill Baptist Church at 10 Whispering Creek Road in Boones Mill.

The Boones Mill Market Place, Virginia One Church, One Child Inc., Hope Tree, Inc. and Boones Mill Baptist Church are among the agencies and organizations that will come together to reach out to residents of Franklin, Henry, Patrick and Roanoke counties.

The focus will be on services that augment the quality of life, strengthen families, provide safe and stable families for children in foster care and provide hope and healing for persons dealing with physical, mental and emotional challenges.

In addition to helping families, Boones Mill Town Council member Jason Masching said the fair is “a great way for agencies to network and find gaps in resources.”

The idea for a family resource fair came when the leadership for the Town of Boones Mill met to explore ways to utilize the Market Place, located behind the old train depot, with the goal of having an event at there each month.

The fair was scheduled for June but got cut short because a deluge of rain.

A number of agencies and organizations have been invited to the fair, including DePaul Community Resources, Piedmont Community Services, STEP Inc., Commonwealth Catholic Charities, Hope Tree Inc., Intercept Youth Services Inc., the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Rocky Mount Police Department, Unbridled Change, Bridges of Virginia and the departments of Social Services for area counties.

Door prizes will be given out, and there will be activities for children.

In addition to serving on Boones Mill’s Town Council, Masching works for Hope Tree Inc. (formerly called Virginia Baptist Children’s Home) as a foster parent recruiter.

The organization’s website states its mission is as follows: “The Mission of Hope Tree Family Services is to provide Christian residential, educational, and support services to at-risk children and youth and to adults with intellectual disabilities, throughout Virginia.”

Masching said there are a lot of people in need in the community.

“The idea [of the fair] is to help strengthen families,” he said.

According to the website for VOCOC, the church’s goal is to reduce the number of children in the state foster care system through adoption education and recruitment.

Sandy Berkeley, recruitment specialist for VOCOC, said, “VOCOC got involved with the resource fair to educate the community of the need for good foster care and foster to adopt families.”

She encourages people to come out with their families to visit the organizations and gather information about the services that are available to them. The Virginia Heart Gallery, that features pictures of waiting children, will be on display at the event as well.

Berkeley said that out of 50 states, Virginia ranks 46th in the number of children in foster care that are younger than 18, the age at which they age out for being adopted.

Berkeley said she felt positive about the number of organizations involved with the resource fair.

“We’re partnering together to make a difference and enhance children’s lives,” she said.

Pastor Bob Greene of Boones Mill Baptist Church said his church is happy to provide the facility for the fair and that members have already gotten involved with helping and donating to agencies that will be featured at the fair.

Greene said his church wants visitors to develop an “awareness of what all is available in our community” and to “see the need for foster families.”

Masching said he hopes this will be an annual event and encouraged people to also visit the Market Place in Boones Mill where they can purchase fresh local produce and receive needed items from His Cupboard, a food and clothing pantry, which is now open two days a week.

The Community Resource Fair is free and families are encouraged to RSVP to Sandy Berkeley at SBerkeleyvococ@ymail.com or by calling the VOCOC office at 804-329-3420.

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