Shelter in Arizona


Returning from another trip to Arizona, I am still in shock at its majestic purple mountains.

This time it was to celebrate our doctor daughter’s residency diploma. She never ceases to amaze because she chose to stay there one more year to be Chief Resident.

I wrote about the field in that part of the country in old columns, but this time we got a taste of what 100+ degrees means on any given summer day. With the temperatures rising, it is getting harder and harder to live homeless in Tucson – not for her though, as she has been asked to keep the house for her assistant who will be spending time in Dubai on the Persian Gulf. Doctors can work all the time, but they live well.

The subject of the shelter was mentioned in his church which we attended during our stay. Some people in Tucson, motivated by their Christian faith and a desire to help others, adopted a Sunday work session to provide food, medical aid, clothing, and other aids to people on the streets.

The Sunday Morning WORKship helps homeless people during the pandemic.

Ironically, the first story I did when I got home was a Project Connect cover. The event, this time held at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds Merchants Building, takes place annually, bringing together dozens of local service providers to connect with individuals and families who may be homeless or who have other needs related to health care, employment, education, social services and more.

Participating organizations provided useful information and other gift items while supplies last. The Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph community health agency was also on hand to provide free vaccines against Covid-19. The fact that there was not a lot of participation is not a reason to believe that the need is not there.

In Tucson, WORKship is a non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, pet care, harm reduction materials, and medical care to homeless people. It is run by the Hill family on their property, which is also a wedding venue called Z Mansion.

Ironically, the mansion we stayed in Tucson with our daughter has amazing mountain views. Her assistant’s husband was always there to do construction work before joining his wife in Dubai. They are down to earth people who care about others. This led me to find out what other doctors in Tucson are doing.

Interested in learning more about WORKship, I discovered that before the pandemic, the clinic was located inside the shed at Z Mansion, a large air-conditioned room. When COVID-19 arrived, the clinic lost many highly trained volunteers. They really couldn’t risk coming to WORKship and volunteering for fear of getting really sick and maybe bringing the virus back to the hospitals and clinics they worked in.

Now the clinic is located in the outer courtyard between the mansion and the shed. There are three stations, and clients requiring medical attention receive the highest standard of care possible.

On any given Sunday morning, WORKship serves 60 to 100 guests and never turns down anyone or any request. It goes to show that there are people out there who are available to help you no matter what part of the country you live in, whether it’s Hillsdale or Tucson.

The pandemic has made it clear to us that given the financial burden that financial restrictions have placed on many working families and businesses, you may be housed one day and you may not be able to pay your rent the next.

As I sat by the pool with waterfalls where our daughter stayed, I reflected on how people in the medical field are making a difference.

It may be 11 years of teaching since graduating high school, but this graduation has brought a different kind of recognition – one that proves that no matter where you serve, the expansion of the sight is transfigured by the desire to be shelter from the storm.

Nancy Hastings is a writer for the Daily News and can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @nhastingsHDN.


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