May 6, 2021
Interest Group Works With The Backpack Project
Even though the Public Health Interest Group (PHIG) at the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership was only founded last semester, they have already left their mark on the community.
During both the fall and spring semesters, the interest group partnered with The Backpack Project—a local organization that delivers supplies to the homeless population.
“We spent several weeks deliberating what we envisioned PHIG’s impact to be, considering public health is such a broad topic,” said PHIG president, Scarlett Kim. “We knew we wanted to serve the needs of the local community and also believed it was imperative as part of our mission to help Medical Partnership students find ways to help populations disproportionately affected by or at risk of COVID-19.”
To begin the work with The Backpack Project, the PHIG hosted a socially distanced Fall Festival. Through this event and other donations, they raised $300. The money was then donated to The Backpack Project to purchase the backpacks.
Each backpack contains over 40 items such as non-perishable food items, toiletries, clothes, and other essential items that are reviewed biannually depending on need, such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and winter blankets.
Members of the PHIG then hosted events to pack the backpacks. Once they were packed, The Backpack Project distributed them to those in need.
By the time both packing events were over, the PHIG was able to buy and pack 250 backpacks for the local homeless population.
“I think the best part of these events is seeing the comradery amongst our classmates coming together for a cause. There is something about putting something together with your hands that gives people the sense that they are making a tangible contribution, and so many volunteers that attended the event asked us if we could have another event,” said Kim. “I also think it’s so important to expand our horizons as medical students beyond what we learn in the classrooms and gain exposure to the great work that is being done by people outside of healthcare that positively impacts the health of communities.”
To learn more about The Backpack Project, visit their website.