Friday, November 16, 2012

Community Resource Fair 2012

Gay Central Valley donated and tabled at the Fresno Community Resource Fair in the Commerce Building at the Fresno Fairgrounds on Friday, November 16th, where over 50 agencies provided information on child, family and relationship support, healthy meal planning and family nutrition, free activities that take place in Fresno County, and many other services to support families. This is another effort by Gay Central Valley to reach out to groups outside the LGBT Community. Big thanks to Leon Velasco, a volunteer for Gay Central Valley and staff member at the Fresno LGBT Community Center, for tabling at this event.

Written by Leon Velasco for Gay Central Valley

It was amazing...

They had been there, the people in line, since 4 am, to get through the Community Resource Fair and get the required stamps of 10 out of 30 booths prior to food distribution. There were turkeys handed out along with other food items, everything from vegetables to fruit and other miscellaneous items.
My Mom and I carpooled over and when we got there @ 8am the line went from the entrance of the fairgrounds on S. Chance Ave and around the block of Butler up to Chestnut. 

After a while I realized I would be flying solo so I prepared myself for having to deal with many people on my own. I dropped off the turkey that Gay Central Valley donated for the food drive and hustled to get the booth set up. When the doors opened it wasn't as chaotic as I imagined it would be. I thought it would be like a "BLACK FRIDAY early bird special". Many people from different cultures and different age groups attended. I met them all with my winning smile and willingness to answer any questions. 

The children were occupied with the candies and toy freebies while I talked with the grown ups. Many have talked about someone they knew who was LGBT. 15 Lesbians 16 Gay Men 1 Transgender and 1 Questioning. There was one other who wanted information on how to educate someone that her choice to being a surrogate to a gay couple would not make the child gay too. I had so many requests for the Rainbow Delegation bracelets. I just started handing out business cards to have them go online. I did have those few that completely avoided my booth, but I was fine with those that were REALLY interested in it. Many fliers went out for our support or social groups at the center, as well as Pink Pages; one person shouted with excitement... "Oh my God! I have been looking for these, I am taking two!".

The Coordinators of the event came by and asked if everything went well and if there were any problems at my booth, I told them "Nope, everything went well, there were no confrontations or anything." They were happy to hear this and asked me to consider this event next year. 

I was approached at closing of the event, by a woman whose Sister has been shunned from her own family for being a lesbian. The Sister is now on the run, in to drugs and no one seems to care but the woman who was disclosing this to me and sobbing as she unfolded her story. Her Husband could only watch helplessly while standing by her and consoling her. I gave her a few referrals I had on hand and told her should she need anymore help to call me and I'll see what I can do. THIS... is what made it all worth while to be there. 

So there you have it folks... Our presence was well received and very much appreciated. I hope that in doing this it encourages other LGBT organizations to attend these types events as well.

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