For those looking to squeeze a little more fun and productivity out of the summer, there is hope. While the season will be winding down towards the end of the month, the Harvey County Resource Council will be gearing up for HopeFest the final weekend of July, with fun for all ages.
HopeFest will return to the Newton Activity Center on July 29. The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon and feature activities like crafts, bean bag toss, bounce houses, drum therapy, a mini putting green, numerous giveaways (books, bike helmets, etc.) and more. Snacks will be provided, as well as a free lunch — for the first 200 in line — through All Nations Pentecostal Church and Salvation Army.
On top of the fun offered, HopeFest is also a chance for those in attendance to learn about the numerous resources available through organizations around Harvey County. That was a key focus when event leadership shifted to the resource council a few years ago, according to council member and Harvey County Health Department Director Lynnette Redington.
"The goal is to let everybody know of all the different resources that are out here," Redington said. "I can't say that all resources are free, but at HopeFest it is a free event to come and find out about those resources."
Making it known this is an event for everyone was also a key goal when the resource council took over HopeFest. While there will be plenty of youth-oriented activities, adults attending the event can also take advantage of free health screenings (dental, vision, hearing, etc.), sample community acupuncture and sign up for Operation Red File — a new feature this year.
Harvey County Family and Consumer Science extension agent Anne Pitts will be leading the Red File booth, which will share info on the new program being implemented by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services in order to improve accessibility to medical information for first responders.
Launching Operation Red File locally at HopeFest seemed like a good place to start because of the audience, Pitts said. While the program (which aims to keep pertinent medical information in a magnetic red file in participants' homes) is presumed to be most beneficial to senior citizens, both Pitts and Redington were quick to note just how crucial the service could be to any and all local residents.
"I think it'll help start the thought process in our residents here in Harvey County about preparing for the emergencies," Pitts said. "We always say to have the fire plan...or (for) a tornado, where do you go; this is another step. You need to have that planned out, so I'm hoping to start that process."
"Any one of us could have a first responder come into our home at any time, so let's have that information ready for them," Redington added.
Enrollment information for Operation Red File will also be available at the Harvey County Extension Office and at area senior centers after the conclusion of HopeFest.
Along with making resources like Operation Red File known to local residents, Redington admitted HopeFest holds the added benefit of networking among community organizations. The organizations become aware of new services that might have been added in the past year and what more they can direct citizens to when they are in need.
Not everybody may need to utilize the resources that will be on display at HopeFest, but knowing about them — from donated fans at Salvation Army to help beat the summer heat to free mental health screenings available at Prairie View — will help spread the word and make the most of the concerted effort Redington is proud to see from all the partner organizations.
"They do it because they really care about Harvey County and they really care about the people who are living here," Redington said, "so when you see that passion in them weekly, monthly, daily, you say, 'we have to do this and make sure others hear and know more about it.'"
"Our services don't do any good for us if they just stay in our offices, so we're able to get out there. Even if you may not need the service, you might have a neighbor who needs it."
For more information on activities and exhibitors that will be present at HopeFest, visit the Hope Fest Harvey County page on Facebook — another new feature in 2017.