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Student spotlight: Tricia West

Freshman+Tricia+West+started+her+own+non-profit+to+improve+the+Mobile+community+and+help+the+homeless.
Freshman Tricia West started her own non-profit to improve the Mobile community and help the homeless.

Freshman Tricia West started her own non-profit to improve the Mobile community and help the homeless.

Muqit Asif Khan

Muqit Asif Khan

Freshman Tricia West started her own non-profit to improve the Mobile community and help the homeless.

Sara Boone, Life Editor

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USA freshman Tricia West took it upon herself to start her own non-profit for the homeless called Bayside Blankets in May of 2017.

Inspiration struck one day while she was working near the Bel Air Mall and noticed the large number of homeless in the area. West said they go in the stores because they have no other place to go. She remembers one homeless man in particular named Rhett who did not do well in shelters because of his mental health problems.

“He would just sit in my store all day. He was never violent or rude to customers; he just would not be able to stay in shelters,” said West.

Bayside Blankets began when West started helping Rhett out with as many supplies as she could get.

Right now, West and Hannah McDuffie, a sophomore at USA, are the only ones who make up the non-profit. She has also had a lot of help from the community, though. Church members, coworkers, the general public, and even one of West’s Uber drivers have also helped with donations. Bayside Blankets has been working towards its first big event, which will be handing out homeless survival kits starting this fall.

Bayside Blankets has handed out free coffee for donations at LODA Art Walk in Mobile every month and they also hope to start giving out the survival kits at Art Walk. The kits include toothbrushes, deodorant, rain ponchos, sunscreen, and other essentials. West’s goal is to give out the survival kits to the homeless as well as the general public.

“We’d give away the kits to people like you and me, and the kits would go under the seats of a car to be given out to homeless that you happen to come across around the city,” said West.

This is the first project that West has started herself.

“I have helped with charities, but this is the first one that I have managed. I think the idea is really unique from the others in the area,” West said.

West plans to put donation boxes around the USA campus as soon as she can so anyone on campus can donate things such as toothbrushes and deodorant. There will also be some placed around the city and in some Starbucks at the beginning of August.

Bayside Blankets is still in its start-up phase until more donations and publicity come through.

“If you love your community and you love Mobile as a city, helping our homeless citizens should be a priority that you hold close to your heart,” said West.

West hopes to get USA students involved with Bayside Blankets as a way to strengthen the community and bring the campus together. To get involved or to donate, visit Bayside Blankets on Facebook or call 251-447-8890.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Student spotlight: Tricia West”

  1. Margaret west on August 9th, 2017 2:37 pm

    I’m so proud of my daughter Tricia west for making the world a better place

    [Reply]

  2. Shirley on August 9th, 2017 7:39 pm

    What a thoughtful thing to do. Please send me an email when you plan to do the kits.
    One question I have, do you want small, individual items? i.e. toothpaste/brushes, deodorant etc.

    [Reply]

  3. Tina Miracle on August 10th, 2017 8:57 pm

    I am incredibly proud of you!

    [Reply]

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Student spotlight: Tricia West