Usually, Erin and I are wary about having the Mobile Express be the focal point of an event. The van is great at events of any size. But the van by itself doesn't always draw a crowd. So driving two-and-a-half hours to park the van in front of the town library...I had my doubts.
My pessimism was unfounded. It didn't hurt that the town was wonderful. We found Windham to be incredibly welcoming. People stopped by to show support, check their eligibility for important programs, or just to chat. It seemed like the entire backdrop was pulled from The Andy Griffith Show.
We met with Toni Brown-Harris, a VISTA from the area. She hit the pavement hard to attract pedestrians and passers-by to the Mobile Express and she was quite successful. We ran through one enrollment and half a dozen quick checks. We even got a visit from the Director of Portage County Job and Family Services, Anita Herington.
Unfortunately, Windham doesn't have a Benefit Bank site. The closest ones were in the county seat, Ravenna. That's a fifteen minute drive. Unfortunately, when dealing with people in poverty, that sort of time commitment isn't always possible.
Ms. Brown-Harris told us she was working tirelessly to create a Benefit Bank site in Windham. Here's hoping that she's successful. The people of Windham certainly need and deserve one.