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AmeriCorps VISTA Terrence Cabiao Makes a Difference in Seattle through the Community Resource Exchange December 14, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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On October 18, United Way of King County brought together more than more than 400 volunteers and 100 service providers for their annual Community Resource Exchange, an event designed to engage local citizens and organizations in support of the county’s homeless population, including homeless veterans.

Terrence Cabiao, an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with United Way of King County through the ALA Call to Service Corps, was pivotal to the success of the event. The Community Resource Exchange provided valuable resources to over 1,200 men, women and children struggling with homelessness in the Seattle area. Approximately 240 of them were veterans.  Cabiao worked diligently with organizations throughout the community to procure essential personal care items. He planned a packing event during which the goods were placed into backpacks for easy distribution to attendees. Local organizations and individuals contributed more than 2,000 hygiene items and over 1,000 pairs of socks.

Shoes are always among the most requested items at the Community Resource Exchange, and this year was no exception. An unexpected illness to the event’s usual shoe provider – local nonprofit Redeeming Soles – resulted in a last-minute shortage, however, and many attendees concerned they would not be able to meet the high demand expected. Cabiao reached out to local corporations such as Costco and Timberland, each of whom contributed generously. All told, over 1,500 pairs of shoes were collected.

CRE - Shoes

In addition to shoes and personal care products, personnel were on hand to provide services such as emergency dentistry, eye exams, glasses fittings, haircuts, manicures, pedicures and flu shots.  Local lawyers and VA representatives were also in attendance dispensing legal advice in areas ranging from pet care to assistance with parking tickets. Cabiao played a key role here as well, securing the volunteer services of six local dentists and dental assistants at the last minute, and ensuring that over 30 attendees received much-needed emergency care.

“It was a really good event,” Cabiao said. “I expected it to be chaotic, but it was really smooth.  We had a good system, and our volunteers were very gung-ho.”

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