TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The first edition of the Sugar Hill Resource Fair offered a wide range of options for Tucsonans facing financial and health challenges.
The community-building event took place Saturday at Mansfield Park in the eponymous neighborhood of Sugar Hill, but was open to everyone.
“When I was growing up, every year this was happening. Now we’re trying to bring it back,” said Kevin Woodard, co-organizer of the event and CEO of the Sugar Hill Coalition. “If I try to do this by myself it doesn’t work. As a community, we can do it.”
Those in need had several avenues for assistance available for free.
Pima County offered rental assistance, while the health department supplied COVID-19 vaccines.
Community Medical Services gave out naloxone, also known as Narcan, which can protect people from Fentanyl overdoses. Dozens of gun locks were also handed out.
People had the opportunity to jump-start job hunts that end in pay above minimum wage through Pima Community College and Pima County Community Services.
Literacy help, immigrant rights and animal safety providing resources.
“We gave [those in need] an opportunity, one place where you can get everything done,” said Woodard, who explained the coalition’s main goal is to let people know where they can find critical resources like these.
The Pima County Attorney’s Office also expunged marijuana cases from criminal records. County Attorney Laura Conover said at least seven people were given a clean slate on Saturday.
“Makes you employable, or better employed or more consistently employed. and then your kids at home are more consistently fed,” she said.
Conover says the pandemic has exacerbated many of the community’s health and financial issues. As Tucson faces a climbing crime rate, Conover says direct neighborhood outreach and community-building, like the Resource Fair, is the solution.
“The healthier our neighborhoods are, the safer our communities are going to be,” she said.
Woodard says the goal is for resource fair events to become more frequent, happening at least once every six months.
Conover predicted that with the weather cooling down and a focus on direct community outreach, many more resource events will happen during the fall and winter.
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