Mary Western has been a resident of Camp Hope since March 2012. When she got here she had only the clothes on her back and a few personal belongings. In the five months she has been here she has received food stamp benefits, got General Assistance benefits, and is now in the last stages of having gone through the SOAR process to get her SSI disability benefits and health insurance. And most importantly, today, after applying and being on a waiting list, Mary is finally moving into one of the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope’s housing units. There, she will live with several other women, including Tammi, who was also a resident at Camp Hope this last winter.
Other than being a great example of the success of Camp Hope providing a safe place for homeless people to have direct access to the services they need to transition, Mary has also been a very active volunteer in the Camp Hope community. She helped to log in and inventory donations from community supporters, worked at the guest sign-in desk during the day hours, and more recently worked on our night Safety Team crew. She also completed a 12 hour certified Mental Health First aid training offered by Optum Health with 7 other of our resident volunteers, as well as helping to man the MVCH booth at this year’s Gay Pride festival in Pioneer Park. She also helped work to stock the shelves at Maurices clothing store at the mall before it opened with a group we arranged with Toni Hendricks, the store’s district Manager.
Mary has been a constant source of support for the camp and always a companion of laughter and good humor. It is an inspiration to see the the Camp Hope project does work for folks out here, and continues to help homeless take the next step and improve the quality of their lives and have a chance to give back by becoming a part of our extended community and Camp Hope Family. And I am sure Mary will also continue to be a part of Camp Hope growing in the next phases, as we see almost a dozen of our camp alumni settling into a better life here in Las Cruces, and our community collaborations expand into the Fall and Winter, to keep HOPE alive for the homeless for a better future for all of us!
And a great big THANK YOU to MVCH and their awesome staff for their dedication and devotion!