By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
For the first time, low-income and fixed income households in the Tri-County can get access to services offered by groups and organizations in one place. And the expo to showcase those services is less than two weeks away.
It is called the HOTT Expo (for “Help Over Troubled Times”), and will be held Monday, June 11, from noon until 8 p.m. at the Corbin Center, located off Cumberland Falls Highway at 222 Corbin Center Drive.
The Tri-County Assistance Network (Tri-CAN) is organizing the expo, which is free to the public and for vendors who would like to participate. Tri-CAN is a group of some 25 organizations in Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties who provide various kinds of assistance for low-income and fixed-income individuals and families.
What makes the HOTT Expo unique is what’s being offered to help those in need, said Christina Bentley, the Director of Corbin’s United Effort (CUE), which is a Tri-CAN member.
“It’s our first try at it, and we believe it will be very beneficial for those families and individuals to get information, applications and services all in one place. I think people will know and find services they didn’t know even existed. The Tri-CAN members who talked and researched with the exhibitors didn’t even know they existed, or where someone could go to for help. Best of all, we’ll provide information and assistance at the expo, and that will save people time, money, gas and driving to various places,” Bentley said.
She added some 35-40 exhibitors have reserved a place for the expo so far, that more exhibitors will be coming in, and those wanting to join are most welcome to do so.
“The Corbin Independent Schools’ Family Resource and Youth Services Centers will be there. The Corbin Public Library will also be there, as will several medical-oriented programs and children’s programs, along with adult education and literacy programs. In addition, the Corbin Housing Authority will be taking applications for low-income housing, and CUE will take applications to help families in need at the expo,” noted Bentley.
She said several of the exhibitors will also have sessions for those attending. “We’re talking seminars, how-to demonstrations and training sessions at the expo. For example, one will be a training session on how to make your own cleaning supplies. If you buy them you know they’re expensive, and households have to have them. We’ll have a woman there who will teach them how to make cleaning supplies which will help families save money.”
Bentley said the HOTT Expo is a new endeavor for Tri-CAN, which is been around for about seven years.
“For years, we were a group that facilitated cooperation among the member organizations.What Tri-CAN has done during that time is help low-income and fixed income families and people. Some of the member organizations provide food assistance, while others provide financial assistance. Some help with clothing families and individuals, while a few more provide various other needs. We’ve gone by various names, and we settled on Tri-CAN about four years ago. Recently we’ve had several churches join us, especially churches from London. But last fall, we had a pancake breakfast and decided to take the money raised together as a group, and use the money for a group project to benefit our clients. We really thought this was the best way to spend that money so that it benefitted the most low-income people and organizations possible. And none of the organizations involved in Tri-CAN get anything from the expo,” Bentley pointed out.
If you’d like to be a vendor at the HOTT Expo, or need more information, you can call Corbin’s United Effort at 606-528-7523.
How did Tri-CAN come up with the name “HOTT Expo?” Bentley had the answer.
“The group voted on it. We had two or three people who had names for what to call this expo, and they liked ‘HOTT’ the best. It’s catchy, and gets your attention. And ‘Help Over Troubled Times’ expresses the intent of what we want to do. To help people over their difficulties, so they don’t stay mired in those troubled times their entire lives.”
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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