Student groups spread seasonal joy

NEOMED students got an early start on spreading holiday cheer with a variety of service projects during November and December.

Fighting hunger and food insecurity

Earlier this month, members of First-Generation Medical Professionals student group joined student organizations from other local universities, Girl Scouts and community members to volunteer at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. “Volunteers moved, quality-checked and divided 27,000 pounds of meat alone,” said Leslie Gonzalez, M2, president of the First-Gen group. “Overall, with other food categories that were sorted included, a total of 22,538 meals were provided for those in need!”

In November, a group of students from the Master of Medical Science in Anesthesia program also volunteered at the food bank. Student Yeline Cespedes shared, "The goal was to repackage Triscuits that were mislabeled as ‘gluten free’ yet they had gluten. The food is to be redistributed to the homeless. We were divided into five departments. The first group was opening the boxes and placing the Triscuit packages in a box (poor things had a lot of papercuts in the making of this), second group was placing stickers with the active ingredients and expiration, third group packed the Triscuits into boxes and the last group just assembled the boxes. We broke the record in packing the most food in the shortest period of time, despite Triscuits weighing very little! We helped to provide 1,180 meals for our neighbors in need."

Brightening the season for children

The American Pharmacists Association, Student College of Clinical Pharmacy and Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists embraced the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the Akron Children’s Hospital Holiday Tree Festival. With a plethora of festive decorations, colorful lights and a passion for brightening the lives of others, the students set out to create a tree that would serve as a symbol of a “happy and healthy holiday season.” The annual tree festival ushers in the holiday season but also raises funds for the hospital's vital programs and services.

Brightening the season for older adults

Eight members of the Phi Delta Epsilon medical fraternity got together to write 38 letters to older adults at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center to help fight isolation during the holidays. The letter writing activity was part of a Letters Against Isolation campaign.

Remembering veterans

The Future Military Physicians student group is volunteering on Dec. 16 with Wreaths Across America to support a nationwide event that spans 3,700+ sites and lays over 2 million wreaths on the graves of veterans. “Most of those who are volunteering in our club will be entering the military as physicians upon graduation or are also veterans,” said Erika Ratcliff, M2. “Our mission is to show respect and remembrance of their service during the holidays.”

And don’t forget our furry friends!

The Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity - Zeta Epsilon Chapter partnered with the Veterinary Pharmacy Club to spread some joy to four-legged members of the community, crafting 32 dog toys for the Portage Animal Protective League.

“I attended a Kappa Psi conference in the spring last year and we had a philanthropy event making dog toys. It was a lot of fun and wanted to recreate that at NEOMED!” explained Austin Kopek, P2. “I hope this activity gives awareness to other student organizations to give back to our community in ways you wouldn't think of.”

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