As part of Welcome Week, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions incoming students from all three programs (pharmacy, occupational therapy and physical therapy) spent an afternoon volunteering with Heartland Hope Mission, an Omaha faith-based nonprofit that provides food and clothing and promotes self-sufficiency to people in need. Before the service project began, the students learned about the important role service plays in Jesuit education and how they can implement Jesuit values in their daily lives.
Chelsea Salifou, CEO of Heartland Hope, led the students in an activity that challenged them to imagine budgeting for a family of four whose needs are greater than their income, a common reality for the families seeking help from the organization. On site, the students helped with donation sorting, indoor and outdoor cleanup, and community outreach for a food drive.
Pharmacy student David Cao reflected on his experience while sorting donated clothes: “How many clothes do we all actually have in our closets? Out of all of those items, how many do we wear more than two times a year? Who would benefit from those extra items in your closet?”
Heartland Hope has 12 staff members, plus 100 volunteers per week. Creighton’s Day of Service is their largest clothes-sorting day, Salifou said. “It is the only time of year to do a clothing sort like this when Creighton is here. It makes it much more manageable for volunteers throughout the year.”
Many of the SPAHP students shared that their experience is benefiting them as a future health professionals, while allowing them to take on a new perspective and encouraging them to consider caring for the whole person, cura personalis. Physical therapy student Tori Wimer said, “Service is meant to help you, your whole community, and others. By participating in service, you learn more about yourself and your community’s needs.”
To learn about volunteer opportunities at Heartland Hope Mission, call Amanda at 402.733.1904, ext. 16, or visit HeartlandHopeMission.org.