The San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program helped put on the 24th Annual Women’s Resource Fair in the Golden Hall room of the San Diego Civic Center downtown Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. more than 500 women were able to utilize various services at the free event, including: pap smears, mammograms, confidential legal consultations, help obtaining financial assistance, job application assistance, spiritual counseling, shelter referrals, self-defense and more.
The goal of the SDVLP’s Women’s Resource Fair is to provide women in need with the vital services to which they may not have access due to financial and personal hardships, particularly homeless, low-income, recovering and abused women.
Attendee Dr. Phyllis Jones was very pleased about the services provided to those in need.
“There was just so much going on all the time. It was a very informative event. I believe we’ve had people from East County to North County for women’s resources for housing, they had an awesome medical thing going on back there.”
The 500 women brought with them more than 100 children who were taken care of by childcare providers upstairs while their mothers were able to utilize the services provided. Childcare volunteers painted faces, read books and played with the children throughout the day.
Meals were also provided at the fair. The Downtown Breakfast Rotary paid for, set up and served breakfast for the women and their children. San Diego Unified School District was tapped to provide lunch for the women and their children as well. Snacks and waters were available throughout the fair.
In addition to the vital services, the women also enjoyed Mary Kay Cosmetics seminars and gift bags.
Executive Director of the SDVLP, Amy Fitzpatrick sees the fair as a vital resource for struggling women.
“You would have to go to 100 offices, with your kids on a bus to get all of the services that are done here in one day.”
She added, “It’s supposed to be a day that they can look after their own needs and figure out what the next step is.”
According to one of the fair's task force leaders, Collette Cavalier the event costs about $18,000 to put on which includes the cost of meals, the renting of the hall and the buses to pick up and drop off the women in areas far away from where the fair is held.
The Women’s Resource Fair is heavily dependent on volunteers and this year more than 400 volunteers registered to help, along with more than 100 non-profit organizations and government agencies who provided essential services.
Starting in June, a 40-person task force comes together for monthly meetings, which are held to plan for the March event, including fundraising and organizing with providers.
The Golden Hall room of the San Diego Civic Center is currently slated to house the 25th anniversary fair which will be held on March 15.