Date: Dec. 12, 2011
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
PNC Social Work Club Helps Ronald McDonald House
Social Work Club members Catherine Kass, Lexie Evan and Bethany Hershman deliver gift baskets to guests jof the Ronald McDonald House in South Bend.
Westville – The Purdue University North Central Social Work Club traveled to the Ronald McDonald House in South Bend to treat the families there to dinner.
The club members attending included Bethany Hershman, of Valparaiso, president; Chris Peiffer, Michigan City, vice president; Lexie Evan, Valparaiso, co-secretary; Catherine Kass, Porter, club member and Jenn Mann, of LaPorte, club member and South Bend Ronald McDonald House volunteer who suggested the project.
The students hosted a fun, informal taco meal for their guests to enjoy. They also brought with them gift baskets filled with personal items that will help the Ronald McDonald House guests through their time away from home.
This project evolved during the course of the fall semester. Peiffer and Hershman suggested the idea as a way for Social Work students to support the club's mission by getting involved in helping out in the community.
Mann suggested helping a Ronald McDonald House. She explained, "It's something I've wanted to do for several years. My son was in Riley Hospital for Children for almost a year and Ronald McDonald House was a lifesaver. I've always wanted to do something to try to pay back the favor. When I learned about the social work club it just seemed like the perfect project."
As Mann and Hershman discussed what type of project the club could pursue. Hershman shared that she also spent a month at IU Medical Hospital in Indianapolis when her late husband was terminally ill. She slept in a sleeping bag on the hospital floors and didn't always have the necessities of home. Therefore, she understands what families need when they're away from home supporting an ill loved one.
It was decided to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. Hershman explained, “We were helping causes that needed our help. We chose the Ronald McDonald House in South Bend because it was nearby.”
Personal gift items given to the Ronald McDonald House families included toothbrushes, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, magazines, various puzzle books, snacks, coffee, laundry detergent, and toilet paper.
The club members themselves donated money to make this event possible, or donated the necessary items. The gifts were collected by club member and South Bend Ronald McDonald House volunteer Catherine Kass, who also tucked the items into gift baskets that she made herself.
This was the club's first project of this academic year. According to Hershman, “This is a great way to show our Social Work students and club members what great things happen when you come together as a group and network with people to achieve a goal. To realize the importance of a goal, because you have empathy or understanding of what people are going through and make it a priority to help people feel better about themselves and more at ease about their situation -- even if only just for a few minutes. I am sure that we were able to achieve.”