Beth McDonald has been keeping the people of Phoenix company on their morning commute for over 30 years, as the host of Beth & Friends — the longest-running morning show on 99.9 KEZ FM. Beth first came to know Mercy Housing when she was asked to be the emcee at our Live In Hope fundraising luncheon in Phoenix, and has been a supporter ever since.
We are always interested to find out what inspires people to support Mercy Housing, and Beth was kind enough to help us delve a little deeper into her motivations as a Mercy Housing donor. Read the exchange below:
Mercy Housing: How long have you been a donor to Mercy Housing?
Beth: I first donated in 2013. Learning about Mercy Housing left me with such a strong impression, that I became a donor shortly after.
MH: How did you get involved with Mercy Housing? What attracted you to our organization?
BM: Sister Margaret McBride invited me to emcee the Phoenix luncheon two years in a row. I found out about the mission of Mercy Housing and saw the wonderful work being done. Selfishly I realized how good it made me feel to give to Mercy Housing and so I have continued to do so.
MH: What are you excited about at Mercy Housing?
BM: Frankly, what isn’t there to be excited about?!! Having a home is such a fundamental part of life that many of us take it for granted. So many people are on the fringes of society, whether it be because of a stroke of bad luck that leaves them financially imperiled, drug use, mental illness, physical illness, or joblessness. Their need is great and resources are limited. It appears that government help is going to be even less forthcoming [in the future]. Mercy Housing is crucial in helping these people have a roof over their heads and giving them dignity.
MH: Why are you passionate about affordable housing?
BM: If we can help people afford a home it has an impact in so many ways. Their dignity is restored, a community is stabilized, families can be together and they have a sense of hope for the future.
MH: What do you see as the best thing about Mercy Housing?
BM: When I see an organization that has a heart and soul with kindness at its core, I’m motivated to support the mission. That is what I see in Mercy Housing.
MH: How do you see yourself making a difference in the lives of residents?
BM: So far my contribution has been financial, which I will continue. My hope is that in my own way I’ve helped build more housing.
MH: As a nation, what improvements have we made regarding affordable housing? How could we improve?
BM: Honestly, I don’t know what inroads we’ve made toward more affordable housing. Right now I don’t have tremendous hope that this congress and president see it as a priority, which means that the burden of trying to help people will land even more heavily on the private sector. We can’t just continue to give tax breaks to corporations without looking at what the poorest in our society need. What have we become if we ignore poverty and illness? Who are we when our veterans, who have given so much, are homeless?
MH: We do more than put a roof over people’s heads, we also offer a rich variety of extra programming (e.g. health & wellness, education, substance abuse assistance, etc.). Why do you think these programs are important?
BH: Simply putting someone in a home doesn’t address the underlying problems. Poverty can become cyclical. For example, pregnancy at a young age, which results in the interruption of education, can be a deal breaker for some young women. Helping them continue their education puts them on the path to financial success. For some an illness can mean bankruptcy, which leads to the loss of a home or job — double whammy — no job, no health insurance if they were lucky enough to have insurance to begin with. Next thing you know, you and your family are on the street. And the USA does an abysmal job of helping those with addiction issues or mental illness. So the secondary services help break the cycle.
MH: Where would you like to see Mercy Housing five years from now?
BM: Well, ideally we’d like there to be no homelessness or poverty. Since it doesn’t seem like that will happen in the next five years, I’d love to see Mercy Housing growing, providing more housing and services for more people. I’d like to see Mercy Housing with a larger awareness factor in each community. I’m not sure that what Mercy Housing does has reached enough people.
MH: What does the concept of ‘home’ mean to you?
BM: To me a home is more than just a roof over your head. A home is a place you call your own. A place where you go at the end of the day and know that you’re safe, secure and surrounded by those that you love.