In January, Margie Morris, a registration specialist at HealthNet People’s Health & Dental Center, had a dream. It was one of those wildly vivid dreams — the kind that leaves you breathless when you wake up.
What was her dream? Oddly enough, it was about giving back to the Near Eastside — the community where she lives and works. She thought to herself, “What can I possibly do to help this neighborhood?” It was as if God himself impressed upon her, “you have the homeless.”
That was her inspiration for “Warming the Heart.” Throughout February she organized a drive at the health center, collecting much-needed items for HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program (HIP). For the past 24 years, HIP has assisted thousands of Indianapolis’ homeless into housing, employment and self-sufficiency.
The response from employees was overwhelming. By the end of the month, the team had collected three huge boxes brimming with hats, gloves, coats, blankets, socks, and more for those in need. There was even a knitted scarf handmade by one of the health center’s doctors! Last week they presented the boxes to HIP’s street outreach workers, who were extremely grateful.
Margie readily admits that she has a special place in her heart for the homeless. She remembers being homeless herself, when she first moved to Indianapolis some 40 years ago. As a young woman fleeing an abusive relationship with two young children, she left her hometown and didn’t look back. She stayed at an Indy shelter, and was thankful to find a safe haven from her past.
Margie continues to be very grateful for how things turned out. She met a wonderful man here in Indy. They’ve been happily married for 20 years. And, her two kids are growing and thriving. She knows things could have turned out very differently for them – and for her. Perhaps that’s why helping those who are homeless find a new beginning appeals to her so much.
People’s Health & Dental Center, which got its start back in 1971, had a new beginning of sorts last year when the health center moved into a brand new building to be able to offer more health care services for the community. Margie hopes that “Warming the Heart” might grow into a new tradition for the staff. It’s a way for this eastside institution to continue giving back, beyond the health care services it provides every day.
Here’s to new beginnings…And new traditions!
What traditions do you have at your workplace, school, church, alumni group or neighborhood organization? Consider starting a new one! Celebrate the Big 10 tournament this week with friends AND give back to the community. Host a drive. YOU can help us raise $10,000 for HIP by March 10!