Michigan Medicine employees are well-schooled in generosity

October 2, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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It’s become a fall tradition — Michigan Medicine team members going above and beyond to help the surrounding community.

To kick off the school year, employees collected backpacks, notebooks, a variety of school supplies, clothing and more during the organization’s annual school supply drive to support the Education Project for Homeless Youth and other local community agencies.

“Every year, this drive gets bigger and better — consistently proving that we are dedicated to improving the lives of those around them,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the U-M Health System. Denton’s team helped organize the drive, which gathered a record number of school supplies in 2018.

The drive results: 402 backpacks, 161 boxes full of supplies and hundreds of pairs of socks and underwear — which had been identified as a significant need in the community.

To highlight the enthusiasm employees now show for the effort, consider the school supply drive’s first year — 2012 — when 38 backpacks and 10 boxes of supplies were donated.

“When you go back and look at where we started, the growth of our initiative is truly astounding,” Denton said. “And I have no doubt we will continue to raise the bar in the years ahead.”

All of this year’s items were donated to three local organizations: The Education Project for Homeless Youth, the Ozone House and the Community Action Network. Those groups then distribute the goods to the children and families they serve.

But the generosity of Michigan Medicine didn’t end with school supplies, as an ongoing effort to reduce food insecurity also received assistance.

Employees raised enough money to fund “Maggie’s Marketplace”, a food pantry at the Ypsilanti Health Center (YHC), for more than two months. Maggie’s Marketplace helps fight food insecurity among YHC patients and families by providing healthy and nutritious food items at no cost.

“This is the second straight year our organization has reached out and helped Maggie’s Marketplace,” said Ladele Cochran, administrative manager of the Ypsilanti Health Center. “We couldn’t do what we do without the financial help of so many people across Michigan Medicine. All of us are thankful for the support.”

Denton emphasized the impact both initiatives have had and will continue to have into the future.

“When you think about health and well-being in our community, two priorities are clear — access to healthy food and access to a solid education,” Denton said. “With our help, hundreds of children and families in Washtenaw County now have a brighter future. We should all be proud of this team effort.”