Students who collected meal swipes to feed the homeless and a team that educates vulnerable populations about fire safety were among the winners of UofL’s Seventh Annual Community Engagement Awards.

The ceremony took place Sept. 21 in Bigelow Hall on Belknap Campus.

The winners were:

Swipe to Serve, UofL students

What’s the easiest way a college student can donate food to the homeless? Four students came up with the answer: by doing something they do every day – swiping  meal cards. Sydney Gomes, Madison Harley, Emma Jacobs and Kevin Lackey were in the Freshmen LEAD program when they came up with Swipe to Serve to feed the homeless while encouraging on-campus student involvement. Sodexo, UofL’s food service provider, agreed to allow students to donate one meal swipe per day in exchange for food donations to Franciscan Kitchen in downtown Louisville. The food donations were used to provide a hot Thanksgiving meal. The students collected 450 swipes, which was enough to serve 360 individuals at the kitchen. The students then took their idea to the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University.

Ann Hobdy and Kim Johnson, UofL staff

Ann Hobdy, director of finance and administration for Information Technology and Kim Johnson, administrative associate in Information Technology, coordinate the “IT Cares” community outreach program. They spend approximately 300 hours per year on service projects that benefit the homeless, children, immigrants and members of the military. Since 2005, they have collected thousands of winter clothing items such as handmade scarves for the students at Atkinson Academy, a Signature Partnership school. Since 2008, they have collected over 3,000 stuffed bears for Bears on Patrol, a program that gives bears to police officers to calm frightened children. They have also collected more than 4,000 books for the Cardinal Care Book Drive supporting UofL’s Pediatric Reach Out and Read Program. Last year, Ann and Kim began coordinating a semi-annual donation drive of clothing, shoes, boots, winter coats, blankets, backpacks and more for local homeless. They collected more than 1,000 items their first year.

Home Fire Safety Team, UofL faculty

The Home Fire Safety Team is made up of UofL faculty and community partners who deliver fire safety education to the elderly and to parents of newborns, including newborns with special health care needs. Since 2013, the team has made 113 home visits and educated 279 citizens.

The team is led by Dr. Carlee Lehna, associate professor of nursing and pediatrics. Its members include faculty from the School of Nursing and department of pediatrics; the School of Public Health and Information Sciences; Safe Kids Louisville, Office of Child Advocacy, Kosair Children’s Hospital; Louisville Fire Department Inspectors; and nursing students.

Louisville Central Community Centers, Inc., UofL community partner

Louisville Central Community Centers, Inc. (LCCC) is a major partner in UofL’s Signature Partnership Initiative with west Louisville. LCCC supports more than 3,000 family members in the Russell neighborhood with programs for child and youth development, arts education, after-school care, employment services and adult job training. It has partnered with numerous faculty and students over the years. Most recently, the School of Public Health and Information Sciences relocated its Office of Public Health Practice to the LCCC campus.

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were given out: philanthropist George Merrifield and Kent School of Social Work Dean Terry Singer.

Merrifield has supported the university for several decades. Among the university programs he has sponsored are financial aid, the libraries, athletics and the International Service Learning Program. Five years ago, the adopted UofL alumnus began sponsoring the Community Engagement Student Philanthropy Program, in which hundreds of UofL students have taken courses that teach community service and foster philanthropy.

Singer, dean of the Kent School of Social Work since 1997, is the longest serving dean of social work in the United States. Under his leadership, the school has become one of the top social work programs in the country, rated No. 28 by U.S. News and World Report among all public university programs.

Singer has made community engagement a part of the culture at the school through community-based learning, teaching and research projects. Each year, Kent School students provide more than 182,000 hours of service to about 7,500 Kentucky residents. Singer himself has been dedicated to the causes of refugee resettlement and community development.

Janet Cappiello covers student success for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since 2014.