Employees prove that kindness is in full supply at Michigan Medicine

November 1, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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Earlier this fall, Michigan Medicine employees made it a happy new school year for children and adults across the community.

The annual school supply drive allowed faculty and staff to collect backpacks, notebooks, pens, crayons, clothing and more to support three local agencies: The Education Project for Homeless Youth, Ozone House and the Community Action Network. All three groups assist students in Washtenaw County who are experiencing homelessness.

“Our teams really care and try to do as much as they can for the patients and families we serve across Michigan Medicine,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the U-M Health System. “But this annual drive shows just how much passion they have for our surrounding communities, as well. It’s inspiring to see the efforts our employees take in order to make it just a bit easier for students to learn with the right tools and resources.”

Meeting a need

In all, 190 boxes of supplies were collected — a new record — along with 297 backpacks.

In addition to traditional school supplies, employees donated certain items that were identified as a significant need in the community. For instance, hundreds of pairs of socks and underwear were donated as part of the drive, along with a large amount of personal care products.

“When students don’t have to worry about having the basic necessities to support their learning and growing, their educational performance increases and they have a better chance to find success,” Denton said. “That’s what this initiative is all about, giving students in need a chance to thrive.”

Providing nutrition too

On top of the supplies, this was the third consecutive year that Maggie’s Marketplace served as a beneficiary of the drive. The marketplace is a food pantry located in Michigan Medicine’s Ypsilanti Health Center (YHC).

Faculty and staff ended up donating nearly $4,000 to the pantry, the most ever. It’s a sum that will help keep individuals healthy for the months to come.

It’s that type of support — support that will help individuals year-round — that makes the annual drive so important.

“Thanks to Michigan Medicine, our agency is able to make an impact in the community,” said Dawn Espy of the Education Project for Homeless Youth. “We wouldn’t be here if there weren’t caring and committed residents of the area — and so many of them can be found in your organization.”

Click through the photo gallery above for a look at the collection effort!