Visitors of the inaugural Harvest Festival at John Hardin High School will have plenty of opportunities to participate in fall fun while supporting the fight against local homelessness. Hosted by local nonprofit Homeless Intervention Services Co., the event is from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Founded in 2017, HIS Co. seeks to address local homelessness by using a multi-phase approach, providing job and housing search assistance, transportation assistance and financial education.
“We don’t just provide a bed,” HIS Co. Director Bunni Hinton said.
Since opening in 2017, the organization has given opportunities to more than 300 people in need, according to Hinton.
As the organization receives no state or federal funding, fundraising events are essential to the continuation of their mission, Hinton said. Though HIS Co. has held fundraising events in the past, Hinton said the Harvest Festival is a first for the organization.
The event includes a variety of vendors, food trucks, hay rides, carnival-style rides, children’s games, scavenger hunts, bounce houses and an arts and crafts show. There are plenty of competitions as well, including a Battle of the Bands event featuring local worship groups, a chili cook-off and an open mic competition.
Hinton said a poll was conducted on Facebook asking local residents what they would like to see at a fall festival event.
“We also wanted to provide a safe family environment where we can give a little back to the community that has given so much to us,” she said.
HIS Co. partnered with local youth-oriented organizations M.O.D Squad Teen Outreach and You Cannot Be What You Cannot See to organize the event.
In addition to serving as a fundraiser, Hinton said she hopes the event serves as a way to spread the word about the organization’s mission.
“It takes a village to raise someone out of homelessness,” she said, “We live in a great community and no one should have to sleep on the streets. So the more our information gets out there, the more likely if someone sees a homeless person they will know where to send them for help.”
Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. Those interested in volunteering for the event or for HIS Co. programs can call 270-506-2259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.