Campus Staff, Students Help Community During Holidays
The holiday season is well under way at Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, with students, faculty and staff focused more on giving than receiving.
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute collected approximately 575 pounds of food and nearly $8,500 for Manna Food Center in just nine days. Manna Food Center, the main food bank in Montgomery County, feeds about 40,000 people annually and collects and distributes more than 4 million pounds of food a year to qualifying families. Osher members donated pasta, cereal, peanut butter and other boxed and canned food, in addition to money.
This year, Osher emphasized monetary donations because Manna can leverage each dollar it receives to purchase $3-$5 worth of food.
Osher, part of Advanced Academic Programs within the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, offers noncredit classes to retired and semiretired adults. More than 700 students take classes on the JHU Montgomery County Campus.
The food drive is organized by Osher member Gordon Fields. It has been an Osher tradition since 2008.
“While Montgomery County is statistically a wealthy community, there are substantial pockets of need amount our fellow citizens, and the Manna Food Center performs an outstanding service in fighting hunger and providing hope for those in need,” Fields said.
Campus staff members, for the 19th year, fulfilled the wishes of students attending the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents, or RICA. RICA, a special education school for students with emotional disabilities, autism, specific learning disabilities or other health issues, provides day and residential treatment programs. It is next door to the JHU campus.
Paula Kramer, the campus administrative coordinator, organizes the RICA gift drive each year. This year students asked for LEGO sets, wallets, board games, socks, shampoo, puzzles and pajamas. JHU staff members often are taken aback by how basic the children’s wishes are.
“Just to know that we have brought joy, as well as necessities in many cases, to so many children is very rewarding,” Kramer said.
Students in the Health Science Intensive program are starting new traditions. As part of their new community outreach initiative, students spread holiday cheer by making cards for senior citizens who are residents of a local nursing home.
“This will benefit both the stressed-out students and the elderly patients who may be missing out on the joy of the holidays,” said Steven Senglaub, a student in the program. “It will be a perfect way to wrap up the semester, and both the patients and students will really enjoy it.”