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Pa. expo a resource for people in need

September 28, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Jennifer Tomlinson attended the Human Services Expo at the Franklin Fire Hall in Chambersburg on Thursday in search of ways to get more medical coverage after injuries to both her legs have left her unable to work.

"I'm having some physical problems," said Tomlinson, who has torn ligaments in both her legs. "My husband is the only one working in a family of four and that isn't enough for co-pays."

After looking at some of the 65 vendors at the expo throughout the day, Tomlinson said she saw some promising services.

"I did find some things that would probably help," Tomlinson said.

The Human Services Expo, sponsored by the Franklin County Community Forum, was from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.

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"It's to get people in the community aware of social services," said Susan Emery, treasurer of the Franklin County Community Forum. "Franklin County has a lot of people available - caring people in the community to help those in need."

Between 250 and 300 people attended the expo, the bulk of whom attended the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. session.

Vanessa McDowell, outreach program coordinator for the Keystone Health Center, represented the center at the expo.

"We cover everything from our dental to our heart center," McDowell said of the information she brought to the expo. "I think most people (in the community) think we do positive things."

Keystone Health Center has different centers for family medicine, internal medicine, heart health, women's care, dental care, pediatrics and behavioral health.

Occupational Services Inc. (OSI) shared information with the community about their programs for those with disabilities.

"We provide employment opportunities to patients with disabilities," said Deb Thomas, vocational coordinator for the company. "We have been part of (the expo) since the beginning ... it's a great opportunity to let the community know what we do."

OSI provides a consumer and a job coach to a business, the business explains the job requirements to the job coach and the job coach trains the consumer. The company also provides vocational evaluation, training and employment skills to those with disabilities.

"It was just jam-packed in here this morning," Thomas said. "I think there has been a lot of participation."

Philadelphia Financial Mortgage, a division of Leesport (Pa.) Bank, helps first-time home buyers obtain grants and low-interest mortgages.

"We just enjoy helping people (and) making sure they don't get into a bad loan," said Chris Warner, mortgage adviser for Philadelphia Financial. "(The) grants help lower-income people to get into homes that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford."

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