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Know Your Resources

Help is out there from saving money to finding stuff to do for free to finding assistance of all kinds, it just takes some savvy and know-how to find it sometimes. Most of the resources are similar in every town and state but there may be slight differences so don’t get discouraged if the information is a little different from where you live. Most places where one can find out about resources are the same. Almost every city or town has its own website for visitor and resource information or a city website – just type in your city and state in google and you should find it. On this site you will find city information and contact information for various city services and officials. It is always nice to know who to contact when needed. Also on this site there is usually a link for employment and city jobs.

This brings me to the next resource that a lot of people do not know about, the jobs and family services centers. Almost every city or town has one and they hold resources from job placement, GED help, job training to disability services. Also, at these centers are usually in contact with a local food bank where if needed you can receive food or you can volunteer to help serve or donate food to those in need or get information on how to receive food. Also, some churches provide free meals once a week, no questions asked.

Another resource is your local thrift store. By definition, a thrift store is a second hand store that donates portions of their money to non-profit organizations. One reason to donate is that you can receive a donation receipt to use as a tax write-off. Also, some thrift stores have their own food bank services and some will even help pay your heating bill in the winter months if you are unable to do so. I know of one national thrift store, The Salvation Army, that will visit schools to talk about the importance of giving and sharing and helping those in need.

My favorite center for resources is the local library. Most libraries have a lot of the forms you may need such as a change of address form, tax forms, heating assistance forms and pamphlets on hundreds of subjects. They also have a reference section for almost anything you might need – such as leasing forms, legal information, divorce forms, etc. Just go to the information desk or reference desk for help. The library can be a godsend for teachers as well. Our local library website has links specifically for teachers for lesson plans. Also, teachers (and anyone else) can check out movies for free. Libraries usually have free programs and classes/activities for children, classes for adults and affordable meeting rooms. Libraries are a great resource for children especially because by getting them their own card they learn responsibility and the reading programs teach them it is fun to learn and read.

Another resource for the older community are adult day care centers. They cost very little and my 94-year-old grandmother goes to one and she has a lot of fun. They sing, make crafts, play games and they even send a present for the holidays.

Another resource in some cities are free furniture banks. It is a little tricky on how to get the okay but basically if you or someone you know is in desperate need of furnishings, see if you have a free furniture bank or contact a local thrift store and see what they can do. In these times, it pays to know where you can get free help and help others.

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