Aug. 26—Volunteers and visitors streamed into the Lake County Fairgrounds on Aug. 26 for Hope Delivered, which aimed to provide a day of free supplies, services, entertainment and encouragement.
The property's agriculture building hosted a supply of free clothes, with volunteer Joanne Henry noting that options were available in sizes ranging from babies to adults.
"The outpouring of help and people donating stuff since April has just been overwhelming," she said. "We had almost a three-car garage full to the ceiling of donations, plus stuff at my house and my business."
Henry added that volunteers started sorting through the clothes on May 15, and that they worked for two days to organize them at the event site.
"We had a group of people moving it over here for us," she said. "Some people donated box trucks for us to move it over in the community. So, the community response has just been overwhelming."
"There's a big need for it in our county," she added.
Meanwhile, the Homeless Hookup CLE team came to provide a mobile shower unit, books, a thrift store and more.
"What I love about this is how spread out it is," said Homeless Hookup CLE founder Dean Roff. "It really just gives people a chance to walk around, a lot of foot traffic, a lot of chance for people to come together, fellowship, not just the clients but the volunteers as well."
"It's just everybody coming together to be a helping hand and fight the good fight," he added.
Nearby, students from the Mayfield Heights-based LaBarberia Institute provided free haircuts.
"A haircut will really lift a person's spirits, no matter what they're going through in life," said LaBarberia instructor Danny Long.
Long, who owns All Blendz Barbershop in Willoughby, noted that the event would also benefit the approximately 20 LaBarberia students.
"It gives them an opportunity to learn different textures of hair, different styles of hair," he said. "It gives them repetition in cutting, so, the more they cut, the better they get."
Before visitors left, they had an opportunity to meet with the event's compassion team, which provided prayer and groceries.
"We're trying to help people who are carrying emotional or spiritual baggage and lighten that load, connect them to a ministry or resource in their community," said David Hackney, pastor of Willo-Hill Baptist Church in Kirtland.
The event also included children's activities such as face painting and inflatables. Live worship music was available on the music stage, with the Deepwood Dancers performing between acts.
Event organizers Janelle Unger previously noted that the event would also include a performance from Ride4Life, a "motorcycle stunt group" that would provide "testimonies of hope."
She said that the event would also include job and resource fairs.
Various volunteers referenced the event's large turnout.
"I never thought this many people would ever show up," Henry said. "So, I think we're really accomplishing our mission of what we wanted to do in our community."
"This might be one of our busiest events of the year, and that's saying a lot considering we've done the Dental Clinic and the Homeless Stand Down," Roff said.
Long described it as "probably the biggest event" in which LaBarberia has participated.
"I think it's really encouraging to see that there's hope for our communities," Hackney said. "There's often so much division in our community today, but it's great to see people of every walk of life who have united, come together, because they have compassion on people. It's just a reminder that God's still working, and there's still some good news in a culture that focuses on bad news."