|From left to right: Mike Sampiere; Pat Moneymaker; Steve Gerber, former executive director of Coordinating Aging Services of Morgan County; Ed Kominowksi, executive director of the CFMC; and Bob Goodrum, executive director of the Wellspring Center.|
Note: This column originally ran in the Martinsville Reporter's Times. Click here to read it on their website.
Today, our thoughts turn to mom.
For me, those are pleasant thoughts, ones that will bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes. I’ve been blessed to have a mom who is still married to my dad after 51 years. She helped me with my homework, cheered for me at my games, corrected me when I got off course and has been mentor and friend.
Not everyone in our community can relate to my childhood. Theirs is marred by absentee parents, moving from place to place just ahead of the rent collectors, abuse, neglect and apathy. The scars of their childhoods are still visible today. To cope with the pain, many have turned to drugs, alcohol and a whole host of self-medicating habits.
For many, this life will lead them to prison or the grave. Others will end up on the doors of one of the three shelter providers in Morgan County that have been serving those in need since the mid 1980s.
Desert Rose Foundation has served women fleeing domestic violence and sexual assault since 2001. Last year, they provided 3,446 nights of sanctuary to women and their children.
Manna Mission, which began serving homeless men in our community in 1985, provided 8,750 nights of shelter and thousands of meals to hungry residents of Martinsville in 2015.
The WellSpring Center has served as the only shelter for homeless families in Morgan County since 1988 and last year provided 17,366 night of shelter. More than 10,000 of those were for people younger than 18.
WellSpring’s mission has been able to grow beyond simple shelter as current services now include intensive case management, employment assistance, life skills classes, mental health and substance abuse counseling, nutrition and parenting education, and educational tutoring for youth and adults. These supportive services help residents stabilize their situations, increase their interpersonal skill level and assist them in moving toward greater levels of self-sufficiency all while enabling families to remain intact.
A total of nearly 30,000 nights of shelter being provided by agencies that exist primarily on donations is quite a feat. At all three locations, more is provided than simply the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.
Educational programs, health, wellness and financial workshops, counseling, case management and most of all hope is offered to all who come seeking assistance.
So, as you gather today and honor your own mother, pause if only for a moment and remember those in need in our community.
Happy Mother’s Day.
WellSpring Center Executive Director