Since August of last year, a county-run facility in Fontana has been providing services to people who are suffering from a mental health crisis.
Recently, Lonnie E. Shipley, a counselor at the Merrill Crisis Stabilization Unit, came up with an idea to help some of those individuals who were in need of extra assistance during the holidays.
"I noticed many of the people coming to us are homeless and so many had no shoes, or shoes in very poor condition," he said. "So I started a shoe program here at the center to help individuals in need with a good pair of shoes."
Then he wanted to increase the good will, and so he raised money and sought additional donations for an expanded project.
As a result, the Merrill Crisis Stabilization Unit collaborated with two community non-profits, Family and Kids Foundation and Shoes for the Homeless, Inc., to provide a backpack filled with toiletry and cold weather necessities to those in need who are visiting the clinic.
The 250 pairs of shoes donated by Shoes for the Homeless have given an extra boost to the center as it seeks to fulfill its mission statement of helping people recover their "health, hopes, and dreams."
The Merrill Crisis Unit in Fontana is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide crisis services to San Bernardino County residents aged 13 and older.
The services include crisis assessment, psychiatric assessment, counseling, and referral and linkage to community resources to help individuals with their mental health challenges. Referrals are accepted from Department of Behavioral Health clinics and community partners, law enforcement and first responders, hospital emergency rooms, as well as walk-in self referrals.
The care provided by staff at the Fontana center (as well as a similar facility in San Bernardino) has been made possible through grant funding from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority along with funding from the Mental Health Services Act.
The Merrill clinic is located at 14677 Merrill Avenue, and the phone number is (951) 643-2340.