This week MHA accepted another donation of 50 personal care packages for distribution to our guests at The Warming Center at MHA. Thanks to Villa Maria students Natalie Bird and Lauren Scutella who gathered donations of easily packaged food, hygiene and health related items and then organizing them in packages that can be readily transported by persons who may have nothing more than coat pockets for storage. Once again we are impressed and encouraged by the compassion and generosity of our Erie youth. Their recognition of the importance of helping make sure those who are in need deserve the chance to survive in the hopes that someday they can get control of their lives and find a direction toward better future. THANK YOU!
At their annual holiday celebration, corporate staff at Country Fair raised a total of $3,500 for the Warming Center at MHA. Bill Grove, MHA CEO met with Steve Seymour and event organizers Jessica Baker, Colleen Chase, Peggy Gavin (below left to right), who presented the check, and Stacy Kline (photographer) . Country Fair has been a good friend and valuable support to the Warming Center for many years and we appreciate their commitment to helping make sure no one is left out in the cold on our bitterest winter nights. We truly appreciate their help and generosity.
Over 150 consumers and MHA staff members enjoyed a Christmas Dinner on December 23rd thanks in large part to the generosity of Sean McCullough and his staff at the Harborcreek Bob Evans Restaurant. As has been the case with other major holiday meal events at MHA over the past year, they contributed main course, side dishes, and dessert items to make sure we had enough food so that no one at the dinner went without a meal. The event, held annually in the Mental Health Consumer Recovery Center on the first floor of the MHA building, was enjoyed by all in attendance. We are also very grateful to the Center Team staff and Consumer Family Satisfaction Team staff for their time and commitment to preparing and serving the dinner. They did a great job.
INCREDIBLE! 315 pairs of socks and 400 packages of fourteen personal care items. Dan Taylor, a Cathedral Prep student, had proposed this project to MHA only a few short weeks ago as his Eagle Scout project. We talked about how he might get maybe 200 by January and then a couple hundred more later in the season. We had no idea he would be able to accomplish this formidable project so quickly. We are very thankful for his hard work and to the community of businesses and individuals who provided Dan with all these donations. This is truly a remarkable feat for this young man. No one attending the Warming Center at MHA will need to go without basic personal care and hygiene items thanks to Dan’s efforts. Congratulations Dan and best wishes on all your future endeavors.
Amy Cobb and Brenda Gallogly from Cobb’s came to our rescue on short notice. MHA needed some additional Christmas gift items for our guests at the Annual Dinner on 12/23. Cobb’s stepped right up and delivered a variety of items we could offer to dinner attendees. We thank them again for their help and generosity especially at this time of year.
Yesterday I had the honor of receiving one of the most important donations for the Warming Center at MHA that it has been my pleasure to accept. A very selfless young man of 6 years old arrived at the MHA in the company of his mother carrying an obviously very full back pack. Dylan Caplea had become familiar with the Warming Center at MHA last year through his mom and a few weeks ago told her he had decided he wanted to donate the contents of his piggy bank. He unhesitatingly handed me a plastic bag filled with change and bills he had saved over time. He wanted to help make sure especially that kids and families would be safe from the night cold. He also donated the back pack, some winter clothes, a toy and some Dr. Seuss books he’d outgrown. I could not have been more impressed or more touched. Young Mr. Caplea is a credit to his family, his school (Saint Peter Cathedral Center) and to his community. He is a stellar example of the compassion and generosity that makes Erie a great place to live even in the most difficult of times. Thank you Dylan for showing all of us of any age, what caring means.
Bill Grove, CEO
Jeremy Berquist shares the beauty of his poetry with these works:
Amy Cobb, proprietor of Cobb’s Second Time Around Thrift Store, presented a check for $1,200 in Warming Center at MHA donations to MHA CEO Bill Grove at her store on 13th and Parade Streets. This donation was solicited from store patrons who were then entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate. She and her staff also collected a variety of clothing and hygiene items from the Warming Center at MHA wish list. MHA is very grateful for the time and effort Amy and her staff put into this fundraising effort and we congratulate them on their success.
We were contacted by Erin Adams who works at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health. She along with family, friends, two co-workers and staff in the Erie Insurance Claims Department collected 160 pairs of brand new warm socks for the members at the MHA! These new socks will help many who need to keep their feet dry and warm during our upcoming cold, bitter Erie winter!
Last year, Erin spearheaded a clothing donation drive at Safe Harbor for the MHA which produced over 25 bags of needed items.
We are so thankful and grateful for Erin, her family, friends, co-workers and staff in the Erie Insurance Claims Department who brought Christmas early to many!
With the help of Bob Evans' Harborcreek restaurant MHA staff served up a great Thanksgiving meal for mental health consumer members and staff. Over 130 individuals enjoyed dinner with all the trimmings. Everyone was very complimentary and no one was turned away without a meal. The meal was planned and prepared by members of the Consumer Recovery Center and served by the Consumer/Family Satisfaction Team.
Bob Evans' provided ham, vegetables, potatoes, gravy, dressing and cranberry relish for the event. Thanks go out to General Manager, Sean McCullough and his staff in Harborcreek for their generous support. This is the second year Bob Evans' has partnered with MHA on making sure our members enjoy a well-supplied and prepared meal during holiday celebrations. We encourage any friends of MHA to patronize Bob Evans' both for a good meal and to support a good partner.
Jeremy Berquist shares his journey to recovery with two poems recently added to our Creations Art Gallery. Thank you, Jeremy.
Overnight temperatures are starting to drop with frost in the forecast. When the temperatures get to 25 degrees or below, we will begin our 8th season of the Warming Center at MHA. Some are predicting another bitterly cold winter. Others are calling for a mild winter. Whatever the case, we need to be prepared to make sure anyone without shelter will have a warm, safe, welcoming place to escape the ravages of the cold.
As in prior years, we need the help of the Erie community to provide the financial support to keep the doors of the Warming Center at MHA open from 11pm to 7:30am on our coldest nights. We continue to staff the Center with trained personnel, most of who are diagnosed with mental health needs and have firsthand knowledge of the rigors of homelessness. We will also continue to offer food, hot beverages, clothing, hygiene products, a shower and a place to rest for anyone in need. We will keep offering a kind word of support, information and service referral to our guests. We will do all these things and more thanks to the ongoing generosity of our donors of funds and wish list items.
If you are already a donor to the Warming Center at MHA, thanks again and please keep us in your charitable giving plans. If you haven’t donated before, please consider us by clicking on the Warming Center at MHA page and then click on the donation button or review the wish list.
Our Annual Report for 2014 - 2015 has been made available.
The Warming Center at MHA opens its doors whenever the overnight temperature will be 25 degrees or less, accepting anyone who needs to come in from the cold during overnight hours. All are welcome while they abide by basic rules of mutual respect. MHA provides shelter, safety, food, coffee, activities, conversation, support, and a place to "nap" for those needing to rest. Click on Icon just above this column.
Best to call early in the morning or late afternoon or most likely you will need to leave a message and number for them to call back. They can meet with you at their office or somewhere in the community. Homeless Case Management can be a good resource way to help someone with a mental health need find a place to live. Homeless case managers have expertise and resources others may not have. The case managers are in the emergency shelters almost every day.
Project Hope has very active outreach workers. They can meet with you in the community. Project Hope workers often can meet with people in the evenings as well as the daytime. Project Hope has resources others may not.
The over-flow shelter location rotates through the community. Call to find the location and times it is open.
Several college seniors from universities within the tri state area have spent a semester at the MHA. We have asked our recent interns to express their impression of their experience with us.
Congratulations to Boots On Ground (BOG) on winning this year's contest to win free office space for one year at the Renaissance Center. BOG was selected by an independent panel from a total of 40 applications from Veteran enterprises. Venus Azevedo-Laboda, BOG director, was on hand to accept the honor. BOG joined the MHA family of peer based programs in September 2015 and has been operating out of temporary space at our main facility. This opportunity for BOG to have its own space separate from the main facility meets two critical needs: having a space that has primarily a veteran/ex-military identification, and making BOG a more visible and established part of the community. MHA receives no contractual funding for BOG and is entirely reliant on grants and public financial or in-kind support. We are extremely grateful to Tom Kennedy and the selection panel for their recognition of the worthiness of veteran peer driven/run support programming for those who have given so much, and their families.
Do you shop on Amazon? Now you can support Boots On Ground (BOG), the new MHA program supporting our veterans and families coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With every purchase you make on Amazon Smile, .5% of the sale will be donated by Amazon to MHA for this veteran peer based program. Click on the Amazon Smile post above and happy shopping.
For more information on Boots On Ground, click on the BOG logo on the left side of this home page. Our veterans with invisible wounds need us so they can help each other.
Educational materials and a Tree of Hope were on display for two weeks to recognize World Aids Day. Free and confidential testing and asking questions was offered by the Gaudenzia SHOUT Team on Monday, November 30.Thank you Mary for decorating the Tree of Hope.
Thanks to the donors of four good used laptop computers for Second Chance Computers. This is enough to hold a small class for some lucky mental health consumers who will learn basic proficiency of use and then be able to take home the laptop on which they trained. Second Chance Computers is helping transform the lives of consumers on the wrong side of the digital divide. They are learning how to produce resumes, access the internet, use open source software and generally become a part of 21st century communication. Gaining these skills have helped them be more confident and engaged and has led to employment opportunities.
We still need more laptops . . . a lot! We have many names of individuals meeting basic criteria for Second Chance Computer classes but we are constantly having to wait for individuals, businesses and organizations to part with their outdated laptops that are gathering dust. Please give your used but working laptops a second life with a consumer who can become empowered by your donation. Call LuAnn at 452-4462 ext. 126 with any questions you may have about donating laptops.
Community Care, a nonprofit managed care organization, announces the schedule for the upcomming advisory meetings.
Meetings for Community Care Adult Members:
~ Adult Members Meetings ~
Meetings for Families of Members:
~ Family Meetings ~
The Community Support Program (CSP) of Pennsylvania is a coalition of mental health consumers, family members and professionals working to help adults with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders live successfully in the community.
MHANP routinely attends these meetings and all members are encouraged to participate. The exact time and date is listed monthly in our Schedule of Activities.
Mental Health Advance Directive is available online.