Need: To expand public health and human services to adults living in rural West Central Missouri.
Intervention: The Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri's Network organizes Project Connect events, a 1-day public health event that offers free public health and human services to underserved adults.
Results: In 2018 alone, Project Connect events provided a total of 8,870 incidents of services to guests, a $302,000 value.
Along with their many programs and services, several
times a year since 2015, HCC puts on Project
Connect events to promote community services. Based
Project Homeless Connect Workgroup model, Project
Connect has brought service organizations together to
provide free public health and human services for one day
to underserved or underinsured adults.
Project Connect's vision is to provide care for the whole
person, not just their ailment, and is geared toward
adults, a population that often fall through the cracks.
Guests are paired with volunteers from the community to
guide them through the booths and introduce them to
vendors that typically include the following:
County public health offices
Addiction recovery groups
Throughout the year, businesses and manufacture retailers
donate goods such as furniture, bedding, towels, paper
products, toiletries, mattresses, and mobility equipment
to The Warehouse, an HCC program. While the warehouse
benefits organizations that serve those in need
throughout the year, items are also distributed to
attendees of Project Connect events.
Funding for Project Connect includes the REACH Healthcare
Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Health Care
Collaborative of Rural Missouri, and other private
Project Connect events have typically been held at school
gymnasiums or churches. Project Connect provides the
following services that are often barriers to patients
with low income or other social determinants of health.
Service information booths and enrollment opportunities:
Public Health Services
Free medical services from local clinics
Vouchers for flu shots or vaccines
Nursing and in-home care resources
Measurements for glucose, A1C, blood pressure
Vouchers for tetanus shot/immunizations, birth/death
certificates, driver's licenses
Pregnancy tests, women's resources
Medicare and Medicaid enrollment and education
Behavioral health screenings
Schedule medical appointments for guests if needed
Mammogram screening available from diagnostic
Prescription Drug Take Back Day" by collecting mediation
that guests bring to discard, no questions asked
Nutritional education and program enrollment
Veteran resources and services
Referrals to social service providers
Follow up services
The following are results from three 2018 and 2019
Project Connect events in Lexington, Higginsville, and
Over $1 million worth of in-kind donations made to
This video talks about HCC's Project Connect, The
Warehouse Project, and their other services:
Getting community members, service groups, and
volunteers, to grasp the fact that there are people in
their own communities who are in need was initially a
challenge. However, once people witnessed the needs
first-hand at Project Connect events, the reality became
Another challenge has been finding a way to collect the
items businesses and individuals wished to donate. In
2018, HCC purchased a box truck that has solved the
While having at least one champion of this event is
key, it is essential to also have buy-in from community
members to make this event a success. Establish local
leadership teams to give direction and input about their
Hold weekly meetings with stakeholder to keep
momentum going and to secure volunteers and vendor needs.
Maintaining good relationships and open communication
with your stakeholders is valuable for funding purposes
as well. Make sure to communicate all the services you
offer through the event. The wider the range of services,
the likelier your potential funders will find at least
one that interests them.
Cast the vision of your projects through the network
and organizations with whom you partner, since their
clients should be your target audience.
Communicate the vision of the event with passion to
make it evident that this event is necessary and
Start marketing for volunteers
early. Depending on the size of event, 100 to 200
volunteers are typical. Capitalize on social media, other
local mediums, and schools to get the word out about
volunteer needs and event details.
HCC staff follow up with all Project Connect attendees
using the PRAPARE
Assessment Tool, a comprehensive resource directory,
to ensure all the clients' needs have been met. HCC is
writing a manual on tips for starting an event like
Project Connect and The Warehouse to make it easy for
others to reproduce these concepts.
Organizations interested in a digital copy of the Project
Connect planning toolkit may contact Suzanne Smith
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.