A hearty Saturday Salute goes this week to all the organizations and volunteers who made a comprehensive outreach to our community’s homeless and near-homeless people on Thursday possible.

Each year for the past five years, Project Connect has been held at GI Free Church in conjunction with the annual winter coat distribution at St. Leo’s Catholic Church and weekly clothing distribution at Stolley Park Church of Christ.

About 400 people received services ranging from a hot meal to hair cuts, oil changes and medical checkups at Project Connect. The community donates close to 2,000 coats each year for the St. Leo’s giveaway, which also includes blankets, boots, hats, gloves and other items. At Stolley Park Church of Christ, free clothing is given away every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. But the church is busier than usual on Project Connect Thursday.

Project Connect organizers include Hope Harbor, the Salvation Army, the Multicultural Coalition, Veterans Affairs and Central Nebraska Community Action Partners. More than 50 service providers were represented and there were 144 volunteers helping people find the services they needed at the one-stop event.

St. Leo’s and the Church of Christ also operate on the strength of their volunteers.

This annual event is only able to help so many people because Grand Island is so full of caring people and businesses willing to donate their time, services and products for the people who need it the most.

G.I., Cairo beautification recognized

We also salute Credit Management Services in downtown Grand Island and The Medina Street Vault in Cairo, the winners of 2019 Community Beautification Awards from the Hall County Regional Planning Commission. The Village of Cairo was also recognized by the commission for its improvements along the Cairo Main Street.

Chad Nabity, regional planning director, said the projects recognized “are all great examples of what can be done to beautify and improve downtown properties.”

Nabity said Credit Management has taken the “extra step to maintain and change out their plantings multiple times a year so that plantings are appropriate for all seasons.”

“The Medina Street Vault in Cairo offers patrons and passersby a quaint inviting atmosphere that will encourage people driving by to stop and spend some time in the village of Cairo,” he said.

The Community Beautification Awards were developed, Nabity said, to recognize the “efforts of residents and businesses that improve the overall appearance of the community through the enhancement of their property.”

The Planning Commission can select two businesses each year for the award, one in the city of Grand Island and one outside of Grand Island. Nominations are made by members of the public.

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