PITTSBURG, Kan. —
School-based social worker Peyton Westmoreland, of Miami, Okla., couldn’t believe her luck when she received word that Pittsburg State University’s Housing Office had 170 student beds to give away.
One of five school-based social workers who serve six school districts in Ottawa County, Okla., Westmoreland serves families who often are transient and have few resources.
“A dad had called recently looking for beds for his four boys,” she said Thursday morning at PSU as she waited on student athletes to help load them.
“We were really excited. I’m sure the families will be, too.”
Ron Womble, university relations director, said that although still in good condition, the twin oak headboards, metal frames and mattresses no longer were needed. As part of renovations underway at Dellinger Residence Hall, rooms will be furnished with new, modular furniture that allows students more flexibility in how they configure their rooms.
“They contacted state social services agencies in Kansas and Oklahoma to find them a new home,” Womble said.
Westmoreland took 20 beds, of which her program will use eight and Oklahoma Child Welfare will use 12.
John Archer of Baxter Springs donated the use of his trailer and two staff members from Five-Mile Children’s Camp to haul them to Miami for her.
Stan Meek, a substance abuse counselor with TFI Family Services, a Kansas foster care agency with an office in Pittsburg, showed up to take 10 beds.
“We have a contract for out-of-home placement for kids,” Meek said. “That contract covers most of Kansas, so we serve a lot of people.”
Meek said the agency often looks for beds for families, but they must have funding with which to secure them.
“For this to come up and be free, and they help you carry them to the curb is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s quite a blessing. And it’s quite a return for tax dollars, too.”
Other agencies who responded to the offer Thursday included Kansas Family Preservation Services and DCCCA, a licensed child placement agency in Kansas and Oklahoma.