December is an especially difficult month for the homeless population with the cold temperatures, unpredictable weather, and the holiday season in full effect. The Ross Medical Education Center campus in Elyria, Ohio partnered with Neighborhood Alliance and the Haven Center, a local homeless shelter, to donate much needed items to meet some of the basic needs of this vulnerable and often overlooked population. The campus posted fliers with a list of items of which the students and staff generously offered. One student even donated 134 jars of baby food and seven cans of formula!
Neighborhood Alliance proudly runs and operates the Haven Center. This center is Lorain County’s unique 24 hour a day, 365 day a year emergency shelter accommodating men, women, and children. This facility contains nearly 70 beds and also provides meals, toiletries, laundry, clothing, and much more to those in such great need. The goal of the Haven Center is to help those in need to break the cycle of no income and no housing by providing resources for employment, education, transportation, and housing.
“Upon dropping off the donations, it was humbling just how appreciated and needed these items were for the residents,” shared Peggy Garn, Financial Aid Student Support Representative in Elyria. “As the bags and boxes were taken in, the director of the shelter explained that there were several young mothers with small children – even one in the hospital giving birth and coming back with the newborn in just a few days.”
To encourage students to participate, the campus offered raffle tickets for each item donated. At the end of the collection period, which ran from November 28 through December 16, a ticket was pulled and the winner received a Christmas dinner provided by the staff. In a very powerful gesture, the winner of the raffle promptly turned and donated the basket. Her generosity was felt throughout the campus and was a wonderful reminder of what the Christmas season is all about!