Learning about homelessness at Meritor

By Laura Neeb

FLORENCE – Employees from Meritor’s Florence facility participated in the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition Speaker’s Bureau on Wednesday, April 25th as part of the company’s Global Service Day.  Meritor, Inc., is a global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets.  Jeni Jenkins, Director of Education and Outreach for the GCCH, and Tommy Thompson spoke to Meritor employees during two “Lunch & Learn” sessions. Jenkins explained the mission of the GCHC and their efforts to help those who are currently homeless or on the verge of homelessness, while Thompson shared his first-hand experience.

Debbie McIntire, a Customer Service Representative for Meritor, said it gave her an entirely new perspective on homelessness:

“Prior to hearing Tommy speak, I had an entirely different outlook on the homeless population.  If they would just get a job everything would be fine and their homeless situation would not be an issue.  Well, boy was I wrong.  Since meeting Tommy and having the opportunity to listen to his life story, I’ve realized that life is not always what you planned. There are hurdles along the way that many of us don’t have any control over.  Economics is a large factor in many of these situations. Tommy made me open my eyes and realize that hard work, perseverance and not being afraid to ask for help is what it takes to get back on your feet.”

Other events throughout the day included a donation drive to benefit the Welcome House and a Shantytown on the front lawn. Meritor employees collected more than 3,000 items and constructed nearly 20 shanties covered with homeless facts and statics. As the first local company to host a Shantytown event, it is Meritor’s hope that a precedent has been set for other companies in the community to spread awareness about the serious issue of homelessness.

Worldwide, Meritor employees supported many local charities through the Global Service Day. Among the events was hand-making soap to donate to the needy in Shanghai, China and providing financial support for families of children with cancer in Osasco, Brazil.