26th Annual Effort Offered Food, Clothing and Medical Care
This Thanksgiving, students from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) organized the 26th annual “Project Feast,” a Thanksgiving meal, and more, for the West Baltimore community. The event is just one of many community outreach efforts by UM SOM, including the Mini-Med School, as well as several student volunteer projects.
Students, faculty, staff, and friends of all six University of Maryland Baltimore schools gathered at Booker T. Washington Middle School on November 26, 2015 to serve a mid-day meal and provide free clothing, non-perishable food items and fresh produce to those in need. UM SOM medical students also took blood pressure readings.
This year, organizers had 330 participants and almost 150 volunteers to join in this Baltimore community tradition. Project Feast partnered with Hungry Harvest, a local socially-conscious business that will provide recovered fresh produce to the event’s guests. Furthermore, this year the UM SOM Dean’s Office contributed to the organizational efforts, enhancing the event’s accessibility to The University of Maryland, Baltimore community. UM SOM and the UMB Seven Scholars Bookstore donated hundreds of t-shirts and sweatshirts for those in need.
“Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, as well as a time to reach out to our neighbors,” said University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also Vice President of Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko Bowers Distinguished Professor. “These volunteers are doing their best to include everyone in our community in that spirit. Seeing this generosity makes the holiday more meaningful for all of us.” Dean Reece attended the event, serving food and talking with volunteers and guests.
The project collaborated with Promise Heights, a University of Maryland School of Social Work initiative at Booker T. Washington Middle School. “Through this partnership, we hope to nourish the West Baltimore community with resources, donations, and of course, a full Thanksgiving meal, more so than ever this year,” said Project Feast co-coordinator Jake Danoff.
Project Feast is not the only community outreach efforts by UM SOM. For the past 15 years, it has offered Mini-Med School, which teaches health and medicine to residents of the communities surrounding UM SOM. The program teaches both adults and children about important health issues, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The program has taught more than 1,500 participants. The kids’ summer program has been going on for the past eight years.
The UM SOM chapter of Student National Medical Association also puts on Community Fest, which offers a range of health screenings and resources to people in Baltimore; the Student Sight Savers Project, which offers optometry screenings to those who cannot afford it; and Ventanilla de Salud, which gives physicals to Hispanic children.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 and is the first public medical school in the United States and continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.