The Port Huron, Michigan campus of Ross Medical Education Center celebrated the Christmas season by decorating the lobby with a fun and festive hat and mitten tree. It has long been the tradition at this campus to collect cold weather gear for donation to an important local organization, KIDS in Distress. This season, KIDS was in particular need of hats, gloves and scarves for youth and teen boys. Upon hearing this, the staff, faculty, and students at Ross Port Huron were eager to help fill that need.
KIDS in Distress is a non-profit organization which has been serving the St. Clair County community since 2004. Their goal is very simply to provide children and teens with necessary clothing and personal hygiene items when they are unexpectedly removed from their homes, as this causes a difficult transition time in their lives. Clients are referred to KIDS through community organizations including schools, law enforcement agencies, churches, shelters, and medical providers. There is also a process by which individuals can refer clients. The tremendous impact that KIDS in Distress has on the community is evident in the sheer number of children they provide services for – over 17,000 in 2016 – and that number is ever increasing.
The KIDS Distribution Center, located at 1114 S. Seventh Street in St. Clair, is staffed by volunteers who are responsible for driving to pick up donations from the various collection bins they have placed throughout the county. The volunteers also sort the donations, launder, fold, or hang the clothing, and staff the store located at the distribution center. However, although it is called a store, clients do not have to pay for their purchases.
Instructor Mary Jo Jobbitt of the Port Huron Medical Assistant program is always happy to see the mitten tree go up. “It is encouraging to know that we can provide local children with warmth and comfort just by donating a hat or some mittens,” she said. “I am so glad KIDS in Distress will put our donations in the hands of children who really need them.” The campus wholeheartedly agreed with Mrs. Jobbitt, and was able to provide over 100 cold weather items to this wonderful organization.
The KIDS in Distress website is interesting and informative, providing a history of the organization as well as referring agencies, volunteer opportunities, and their current wish list of items. Please visit their site at www.kidsindistressservices.org for more information and to find out how you can become involved.