People in every community face challenges every day.

What happens when someone in the family gets sick or the car breaks down?

Is there anyone who can help?

Naturally, those who are sick know to seek medical treatment from a physician, and those who face vehicle problems know to see the local mechanic.

Yet, there are others who face life situations that most people don’t talk about, especially those related to mental illness.

Are there resources for them?

The answer is that there are people, agencies and organizations willing to help. The challenge is not that many people know about them.

A local event known as “Let’s Get Connected” was held in St. James Oct. 4 which was sponsored by Watonwan County Human Services in conjunction with Forever Friends and the Minnesota Valley Action Council.

That day a community resources fair was held at Marian Hall of St. James Catholic Church, and, according to Rhonda Sawatzke, more than 60 adults and lots of kids showed up to learn about everything from getting help for recovery from addiction to find- ing a way out of domestic violence.

Sawatzke said Watonwan County is part of an organization known as the South Central Community Based Initiative, which is a 10-county entity dedicated to “serving consumers with serious and persistent mental illness.”

Through this initiative, a clubhouse known as Forever Friends has been established in St. James, and it receives funding to promote awareness and education in the region. In April a meeting was supposed to be held, but due to circumstances that event was not held, and so funding was made available to local groups to use as they felt could best serve their communities.

“We received $1,000 and chose to use that funding for an outreach event,” said Sawatzke, adding the intent was to bring attention to all of the resources which are available that can provide assistance for those who are in need.

A number of tables were set up in the hall, with representatives from mental health, legal, elders, education, employment, medical, financial and housing services were on hand to talk with people about what they can provide and to answer questions about the concerns those who attended may have.

Sawatzke said the “Let’s Get Connected” event also received donations from local businesses.

For a first-time event, Sawatzke said those who helped coordinate the community rescue fair felt it went very well. She added if the event is held again in the future she thinks word will spread and even more people will come to learn about what is available for them.

In the end, if someone came to “Let’s Get Connected” and found the help they needed then holding an event like this is worth it. To learn more about available resources, contact Forever Friends at (507) 375-4453.