MEPNs organize donations for those in need

This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, Kayla Timmons

CRASH stands for Community Resources and Self-Help and is a residential, non-profit, MediCal funded substance use rehabilitation house located in Golden Hill. MEPN students and I have been going to CRASH every week for the last five months and have really gotten to know the residents as well as the staff and counselors. While some residents enter the site voluntarily, many are court-ordered and come to CRASH from jail or the streets with nothing except the clothes on their backs. When they get to CRASH, they are given the items that they need, such as clothing, a towel, pillow and blanket as well as personal hygiene items, all of which are generally donated.

A couple of months ago, one of the brothers took us on a tour of the entire house and we saw that the family only had one extra towel and a couple of extra heavier blankets in the linen closet. A majority of their towels were ripped, tattered and extremely worn. When this situation was raised during our OB class, Dr. Barger generously set up a donation drive with her church, Mission of San Diego Church. They donated bags and bags full of blankets, towels and winter jackets as well as hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and cleaning wipes. I was so shocked, grateful and humbled when I went to collect the donations and saw how many there were, especially knowing how thankful the brothers were going to be. My midsize SUV was completely full to the roof with bags and we filled another student’s truck!

We brought the donations to the house and after unloading my car, the brothers were astonished with the piles of blankets and towels that were all for them, even more so after we told them we had another truckload full of goodies! The brothers were all so appreciative and so excited to receive the donations, saying how much they were needed now with the temperature dropping. It was like Christmas morning for them.

One resident immediately saw a Scooby-Doo comforter in the pile and his eyes lit up. With the biggest smile on his face he said, “This is awesome!”, grabbed the comforter, wrapped it around himself and kept it on for a couple of hours that morning. It was so heartwarming to see that little kid inside of them come out, knowing that so many of them never really had a childhood.

There are only twenty brothers in the house that we serve, due to COVID-19, but they also have two other CRASH houses (a women’s house and another men’s house) with whom they will share the amazing donations, and I know they will be just as thankful with the holidays and winter coming up!

Many thanks to Dr. Barger and the Mission of San Diego Church!

About kathymarsh

Associate Dean at Hahn School of Nursing University of San Diego
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