Encouragement in a cup

by Rachel Ayres | Staff Writer

Later this fall, Whitworth staff and students will get the opportunity to donate to a project called Cold Cups that is supplying basic cold supplies to those in need. Talya Jackson, the spiritual life coordinator for the ASWU, is heading up Whitworth’s participation in this Union Gospel Mission of Spokane project.

“It is like a college student’s worst nightmare to get sick, because then you’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t go to class, oh, I have no motivation to do my homework.’ So imagine that, but you don’t have a place to live and don’t know where your next meal is coming from,” Jackson said.

Inside the disposable 160 ounce cups given to patients at UGM clinics are chicken broth, ginger tea, throat coat tea, honey, salt water gargles, zinc lozenges and vitamin C.

Students and staff will be asked to donate items from this list to the UGM. There will be drop off locations in the Hixon Union Building and every residence hall to make a contributions to the cause.

Jackson hopes to give students with busy schedules a way to be able to give back to their community.

“You don’t necessarily have to be there in person, but if you are thinking about them and hoping the best for them, the least you can do is buy a box of tea and some salt. You are already going to WinCo or Walmart or Target or wherever you go, Trader Joe’s,” she said.

“[My story is that] I opened my Bible, read about God’s care and concern for the poor and that inspired me to do something,” said UGM’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Danny Beard.

Among many services that UGM offers to care for the poor, the have clinics that offer free health care twice a week to people who come off the streets in need of help. The most common issue seen at the clinics is the common cold, especially in the upcoming winter months.

“The homeless population has real barriers to overcome in regards to health… lack of nutrition and sleep contribute to the immune system functioning poorly,” said Kirstin Johnson, a nurse midwife who volunteers at the UGM’s Crisis Center for Women and Children.  “The population of women that I work with does not have the money to walk to a convenience store for Tylenol or Vitamin C.”

Johnson is the one who had the idea of the Cold Cup.

“I was looking for some way to help the women without prescribing an antibiotic because the vast majority of colds are viral and antibiotics will not help,” she said.

Not only are the contents inside the cup beneficial, but the outside of the cups are filled with inspirational Bible verses.

“They need to know they are loved number one, and then there are things in [the cups]  to build up their immune system…Everything about it is designed to be a gift” said Annie Crane, the Clinic Coordinator at UGM.

These cups will be distributed through the clinics at the UGM’s various location in the Spokane area.

“It really does make their patients feel good that they don’t just walk out empty handed like, ‘Oh, we can’t do anything for you sorry, just try to tough it out,’” Jackson said.

Jackson plans to start the drive near the end of October and then give the donations to the UGM before Whitworth goes on winter break.