The Homeless Health Initiative held a Meet and Greet at the Salvation Army in Pottstown to mark National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week and share information with families and their children. Three HHI interns participated and share their thoughts on the day.

It was such a great experience getting to meet the families of Salvation Army in Pottstown. One of the mothers I spoke with was excited to have us out there and stuck around for a while to talk to us. She mentioned her interest in child development workshops since her son was almost 2 and she understood the importance of him reaching milestones at an early age. Having our OT partner, Emily Thomas, there was perfect because she was able to address any questions that parents had about child development. Having toys and balloons at the Meet & Greet gave parents the opportunity to play with their children outside for a moment, and it was nice to see not only children having fun but families having fun together. It was refreshing to see that Salvation Army Pottstown included families of all types, so fathers and even grandfathers could be with their children and grandchildren.

I met with Bobbie Monaco, MSN, CRNP, a CHOP nurse, to drop off period packs that members of the Period Equity Project put together. Bobbie shared a similar project she had been working on with reusable menstrual hygiene products. We discussed how having employees at shelters on board with the products that are being distributed plays a major role in how residents will receive them. She explained that at first the reusable products were not well received, but after educating employees about them and gaining their approval, the residents were OK with using them. She will be working on creating educational videos about menstrual equity with a grant she recently received.

–  Courtney Gordon, HHI masters of social work intern

A public health worker should seek to promote health and safety awareness, in addition to advocating for wellness, education, disease-prevention, policymaking and injury prevention in communities/populations. From what I could see, the Salvation Army is just that for this quaint suburban town in Montgomery County. The Salvation Army itself was full of food donations inside the building … which was encouraging.

– Brendan Bellomo, HHI masters of public health intern

This event was a great demonstration of the values of social workers. This was an introductory event intended to be helpful to a vulnerable population of families residing in this homeless shelter. HHI worked to ensure the families had access to needed health information and resources to enhance their capacity to address their own health-related needs. The families were engaged as partners in the process through questionnaires and socially distanced interactions that sought to identify health topics of interest to the families. Demonstrating this genuine curiosity and readiness to respond to the interests of the families promoted a highly engaging environment and overall successful event for the families and volunteers who attended.

– Juanita Robinson, HHI masters of social work intern