In December, the Ross Medical Education Center Morgantown, West Virginia campus collected items to be placed into “blessing bags” and distributed to the homeless in Morgantown. Between 2009 and 2012, nearly 2,000 people received homeless services in Monongalia County. Hundreds of homeless people are drawn to Morgantown annually, largely because the city offers services and shelter for these individuals. On the one day annual Point in Time Count, there were 52 children experiencing homelessness in Monongalia County. Families with children are the fastest growing portion of the homeless population. To provide some comfort, staff and students collected small toys and snacks as well.
According to the Morgantown City Council and the Monongalia County Commission, the immediate impact of homelessness is, of course, on those who find themselves without a place to live. However, this problem also affects the quality of life for all in the community. The costs of homelessness are not just borne by those who directly experience homelessness. Everyone pays at least some of the personal, health, social, economic, and governmental costs of homelessness because of the demand upon, and cost of police, health, and other public services.
In a small but heartfelt gesture, Desiree Gump, student in the Morgantown Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration program, asked her classmates to bring in items that she and her parents could distribute between the holidays. “We were humbled by Desiree’s suggestion and thankful to have a student with such a caring heart,” said Dorie Alger, Campus Director. Over 500 items were collected including soap, hand sanitizers, chapstick, blankets, snacks, and, of course, stuffed animals. The collections were so bountiful for the small school that Desiree made several trips to collect everything. “We had people from WVU Hospital bring items into our campus for the blessing bags,” said Career Development Representative Tiffany Jones. “It doesn’t surprise me though – they have always been an active partner with Ross.”
This is the second activity recommended by Desiree as she and her family spearheaded the collection of letters to local veterans in November. Morgantown is very pleased to have such a civic minded individual.