WESTMINSTER — The 3H's -- health, housing and hunger -- are the focal point of a fair Wednesday conducted by 22 county agencies.
"We wanted to . . .inform the public, employees from the various agencies and legislators about the most critical issues in health, housing and hunger," said Lynda Gainor, deputy director of Human Services Programs Inc., of the project of the Community Services Council of Carroll County.
How to deal with the increasing number of those in need would be the fair's most important topic, said Mark Lancaster, Western Maryland regional manager for the Maryland Food Committee in Westminster.
"There are more and more people who are in need, and the resources to supply these needs are getting less and less," he said.
"With more people coming in, and fewer staff to deal with these people, our social services community is suffering."
Budget cutbacks have takentheir toll, leaving many staff openings in social service agencies unfilled.
The recession has put more people in the unemployment line and led more people to reach out to social service agencies for assistance, too.
"There are a number of things converging at once," Lancaster added, "the recession, inadequate social services staff to deal with the needs of the unemployed and the effects of inflation."
"This fair will help us provide elected officials and the general public with information on two things: resources already provided and resources that need to be provided," he said.
Fliers promoting thefair have been distributed through service agencies and the community, and the county commissioners invited the Carroll County delegationto attend.
"We chose the end of October so that the legislators would be more able to attend," Gainor said.
"This way it doesn't run into the holidays.
"We knew that it would be important for us tofirst show the services we now have, so from there we could identifythe gaps, people not being served or problems that needed to be addressed," she said.
Gainor said that the fair was originally plannedto be an educational experience.
But, in light of the recent federal, state and county budget cuts that have affected almost every aspect of social services, the focus of the event has become more pointed, she said.
"We want to let our legislators know that we do not have any money left to cut from our budgets," Gainor said.
"This isan attempt to show them that there is no fat in our budgets, and enough is enough."
Most agencies and organizations participating in the fair will display an exhibit booth, where literature about the services each provides can be obtained and a representative will be available to answer questions.
At 5 p.m. Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy will take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that opens the new women's shelter to the public.
The shelter, which canhouse 30 people, will be available to women and their children by early November.
A skit and speakers representing the areas of health, housing and hunger will follow the ceremony. Speakers' names were not available at press time.
The Community Services Council is a private, non-profit organization with representation from about 85 county social service agencies and organizations.
The fair will be 3 to 8:30 p.m. on the lower floor at 10 Distillery Drive.
Information: Lynda Gainor, 857-2999; Karen Blandford, supervisor of Housing and Community Development for Westminster; 876-6322; Mark Lancaster, 876-3637.
Members of the Community Services Council appointed the three to organize and plan the fair.