About 25 families in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood adjoining the Medical Campus will have a brighter holiday this year thanks to the generosity of School of Medicine employees.
The Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. (WUMCRC), which works closely with neighborhood groups in addressing employment, public improvements, home repair and security and public safety issues, has coordinated a Holiday Outreach Program for nearly 10 years. The WUMCRC staff work with area social service providers to identify families who live in the neighborhood and are in immediate need due to loss of a job, illness or another emergency situation, said Brooks Goedeker, community development manager for WUMCRC. Once accepted, they are matched with a School of Medicine department, which works to fill the specific needs of each family.
“A lot of these families do not have any means to purchase gifts or even to have a holiday meal,” Goedeker said. “This program helps the families stay on their feet and have a wonderful holiday. For a lot of the families, this is just what they need in order to give them the hope and jumpstart for the New Year.”
Goedeker said the departments do a great job fulfilling these requests.
“The families are always overwhelmed,” Goedeker said. “It’s really a neat experience.”
This year, about 25 School of Medicine departments are participating in the program. In addition to fulfilling material needs, such a gifts, food, clothing, bedding, toys and small appliances, departments can give money to WUMCRC, which will work with utility companies to help the families take care of any unpaid utility bills.
“This program really helps the people in the neighborhood connect to the Medical Campus and lets them know that the campus employees care that its neighbors are doing well,” Goedeker said.
To find out more about other initiatives by the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corp. in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood or how to help, contact Brooks Goedeker at email@example.com.