For Immediate Release
Contact: Kimberley A. Lee
VP Resource Development & Branding
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – “Adam” arrived at MHA’s Emergency Respite, a program which provides emergency-based housing and care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Adam has fairly severe cognitive disabilities and he was emotionally distraught when he arrived. To make matters worse, his shirt was soiled, his shorts were much too big and flip flops much too small. These inadequate clothes were everything he had.
“Even for someone whose career in nonprofits has brought me face-to-face with many tragic circumstances, Adam’s arrival at respite was profoundly sad to witness,” said Kimberley A. Lee, Vice President of Resource Development and Branding for MHA. “I was relieved he was finally safe, but my heart just broke to know that someone would have mistreated such an incredibly fragile and vulnerable human being.”
According to Karyn Reigner, Program Director for MHA Emergency Respite, people arrive at respite because they have been removed from an abusive or neglectful environment. “No abuse is tolerable, but it’s even worse when the abuse focuses on someone who doesn’t have the voice or ability to say no or speak up for themselves, and worse still since an abuser is often a loved one,” said Reigner. “When they arrive here, they need the simplest of things: a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, comb, pick, T-shirt, shorts, and under garments. A decent tote bag to put their things in would be a plus.”
In response to this basic but urgent need, MHA has launched “Good To Go,” a new initiative to supply every individual who arrives for emergency respite care with basic personal care items. The plan is to provide these items in a sturdy tote bag or backpack so, when permanent housing is arranged, each person can simply pack their own things in their own bag. In short, they’ll be Good To Go.
“Good To Go presents an incredible opportunity for businesses, community service organizations, volunteer and student groups, individuals or families to make an immediate, meaningful impact in the lives of vulnerable people escaping abuse or neglect,” said Lee. “I have seen the condition in which so many of these folks arrive at MHA. They need assistance, and quickly. By donating items or funds for Good To Go, you will support our participants who are truly in need of a soft landing. Are you good to go in wanting to make a difference?”
To learn more or to make a donation of funds or goods, contact Kim Lee at 413-233-5343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MHA is a nonprofit provider of residential and support services based in Springfield, MA, providing services throughout the Greater Springfield area to people impacted by mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse and homelessness. Our core values are Respect, Integrity and Compassion.
MHA has 400 full- and part-time employees and serves more than 600 participants annually. We operate 25 residential sites, as well as extensive outreach and supported living programs. MHA receives state and federal funding from multiple sources including the MA Department of Mental Health (DMH), MA Department of Developmental Services (DDS), MA Department of Children and Families (DCF), MA Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHDC) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
MHA was founded in 1960 by concerned citizens to provide advocacy for people with mental illness living at Northampton State Hospital. Throughout the deinstitutionalization movement MHA developed a continuum of housing and support options to participants with a wide variety of needs. Our services reflect the belief that everyone deserves quality affordable housing, the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential and the support to pursue their personal vision and meaningfully participate in the life of their community.