MHA Foundation donation to the Homeless Initiative

Penny DeGroot, left, treasurer of the Payson Homeless and Homeless Veterans Initiative receives a check from MHA board member Jennifer Smith, President Kenny Evans and Heather Stage, MHA’s operations manager.

Almost two dozen donors matched the MHA Foundation’s matching funds challenge to bring $9,000 into Payson’s Homeless and Homeless Veterans Initiative coffers.

Treasurer Penny DeGroot picked up a $4,000 check presented by board member Jennifer Smith, President Kenny Evans and Heather Stage, MHA’s operations manager on Aug. 21. The funds will help the Initiative operate a warming shelter during the winter months in Payson.

The matching fund drive started after the Payson Town Council declined to help the Initiative this year. Mayor Tom Morrissey, a board member of the Initiative, had asked the Town of Payson to pay almost $4,000 to help defray insurance and other costs. Last year it was thought the town had provided funds, but it had not.

The warming center ran with the help of Mount Cross Lutheran Church. The church provided the overnight accommodations for last season’s successful effort.

The church will again provide the kitchen, dining room and sleeping quarters for any of the homeless in the area.

DeGroot said funding from the town might still happen.

“I know the town council wants more information,” she said, but she hasn’t confirmed a discussion has been scheduled.

The pandemic has put a crimp on plans, however.

“We’re still looking at all of our options on how to stay safe,” said DeGroot.

To help

The Initiative still seeks donations and volunteers.

At this time, the organization can only accept monetary donations. Once the warming center opens again, DeGroot said the Initiative would accept donations of linens, personal cleaning items, etc.

To send a check, please mail it to: The Payson Homeless and Homeless Veterans Initiative, P.O. Box 2732, Payson, AZ 85547.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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