Announcing our Kindness Award Winners for June 2023

Jason and Trisha Long, Kindness Award Winners

While our goal is to highlight one person at a time, we felt we had to make an exception with this husband-and-wife team.

Jason and Trish Long, (Berlin, MD), have been volunteering their time since 2015, to make sure the homeless population in Ocean City, Md have a place to stay when the weather turns frigid. They spend hundreds of hours making sure the shelter has enough food, supplies, and volunteers to cover the overnight shift. 

“All winter, they schedule and train volunteers, organize meals, solicit and distribute donations of warm clothes, and toiletries. When there are gaps in the volunteer schedule, one of them fills in so that the overnight shelter can open. What really inspires me is the respect and care they show to each individual and the extra things they do to bring comfort and address needs, like bringing in stylists to offer haircuts, helping people obtain ID and Social Security documents, and finding health and dental services for urgent needs. Jason and Trish do this from November to March, while working, caring for 2 young children, and volunteering with their sports and church activities. This couple shows kindness towards the most vulnerable people who are unseen and unheard by most residents and visitors in the Ocean City resort community.” – wrote Patti Stevens when she nominated them.

The Ocean City Cold Weather Shelter can potentially mean the difference between life and death to someone living on the streets who have nowhere to go when temperatures drop and the wind chill is biting. 

One of the volunteers said, “Freezing to death is certainly preventable. It just is. We don’t want people dying outside just because they’re homeless.”

Without volunteers, the shelter would not be able to open its doors. Volunteers register the guests every night as well as provide warm meals and stay overnight at the shelter. They invite the guests in from the front porch and give them fresh linens and towels, one by one before assigning them bunks.  They provide shower time, laundry services, a hot meal for dinner and they put out coffee and pastries in the morning.

“It is an awesome feeling to provide a service such as this to those less fortunate, but we are in need of many more volunteers to help us continue to be able to do so. You know, monetary donations can get us the stuff,” Jason said, aware the shelter needs food, sanitizers, trash bags, and so much more. “But volunteers is number one.”

Jason also emphasized, “This whole thing is definitely a group effort though, with me and Trisha, along with Hank and Lyn Meixner, and Pastor Frank Harpster all serving on the board. Amy Morgan, although not on the board, is also instrumental in the day-to-day operation of the shelter.”

Jason and Trisha Long, Kindness Award Winners

Managing the shelter during COVID was particularly difficult. The hours of planning to meet pandemic restrictions and CDC guidelines to make the opening work was a struggle, but they did what they had to do to make it work.

Trisha said, “There’s a preconceived notion of what homeless people are – people feel like they’re going to be dangerous, or put them at risk or be mean or whatever …., that’s not the case. When they get here, they’re so thankful that we’re here and that they have a warm place to stay and a hot meal.”

Jason and Trish are an inspiration to us all.  The time they give and the compassion they show truly touches the lives of the most vulnerable among us. We are so honored to have them as part of our MKRO family.

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.


4 thoughts on “Announcing our Kindness Award Winners for June 2023”

  1. Jason & Trish live and give the kindness & caring that Matt inspired and that you honor thru MKRO awards! Thank you for recognizing them!

  2. Thank you Jason and Trish for your love and kindness to the homeless in Berlin, you are an inspiration to all of us to help take care of those in need

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