Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.
To encourage employees to offer their time and talents in service of the local community, Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), recently launched the UMB Employee Volunteer Initiative. This initiative offers eligible employees four hours of paid leave to volunteer at a local charitable organization during a normal work day. Inspired by this effort to support and encourage UMB employees to give back to the community, seven staff members from the School of Pharmacy’s Offices of Communications and Marketing and Development and Alumni Affairs volunteered to make and serve breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Baltimore on Dec. 10.
Serving Families in Need
Located within walking distance of Pharmacy Hall on the UMB campus, RMH provides an affordable “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children while they receive treatment at Baltimore’s world-renowned hospitals, including the University of Maryland Medical Center and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Up to 36 families stay at the house each night, and more than 1,400 families stay each year.
When President Perman announced the UMB Volunteer Initiative in November, he remarked, “I hope this small gesture reinforces just how valuable your service is, and how much it contributes to the strength and vitality of Maryland.” I took this offer to heart and decided to rally my co-workers and coordinate our team’s service at RMH. As someone who previously volunteered with RMH, I had seen firsthand just how appreciative the families were of the service that volunteers provided. You know that you are making a difference.
Bringing the Comforts of Home
Breakfast and dinner at RMH are often prepared by volunteers, with the former providing much-needed energy before families head to the hospital each morning. Staying in a new city can be a bit uncomfortable, so we hoped that by cooking breakfast we could make it feel a little more like home for the families.
We arrived bright and early to serve egg casseroles, mini muffins, and yogurt parfaits to the families staying at RMH. Once the food was ready and the holiday decorations were in place, an announcement was made over the loudspeaker and families began trickling into the dining area. Some were more awake than others, but all were smiling when they saw the freshly made coffee and a hot meal waiting for them. We were humbled that, despite the circumstances, every single person made it a point to thank us for coming.
Encouraging Others to Serve
Dr. Perman’s offer of paid leave time to encourage employees across the University to volunteer in service to the local community is very generous, and just one of the reasons why UMB is such a great place to work. Our team was honored to have this opportunity to serve others, especially during the holiday season, when a hospital stay can take an extraordinary toll on a family. We hope other employees across the University will be as inspired by our experience as we were by Dr. Perman’s words and find time to give back to the local community this year.
— Kate Robinson, development associate