LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville medical students in the Distinction in Global Health (DIGH) track are putting their passion to work for refugees resettling in Kentucky and they are inviting the community to join their effort.
Third-year UofL medical students Allison Lyle and MeNore Lake are spearheading the My New Kentucky Home: Donation Drive to collect clothing and household items for refugees arriving in Kentucky. The donations will be distributed directly to individuals in need by Migration & Refugee Services, a department of Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc., which assists refugees in the Louisville area. The Kentucky Office for Refugees, also a department of Catholic Charities, reports that about 1,250 refugees arrived in Louisville in 2015 from 23 countries, and expects that many or more in 2016.
It all started late last fall when Lyle and her husband were cleaning out their apartment. Lyle decided she would like to get the unneeded clothing and household items to someone who could use them.
“This was around the same time as the attacks in Paris and the unfortunate discourse around Syrian refugees not being wanted,” Lyle said. “I thought we could do a med-school wide outreach program to show this demographic some extra kindness.”
As a member of the Distinction in Global Health track in the UofL School of Medicine, Lyle is particularly concerned with the needs of refugees. She brainstormed with Lake, a medical school classmate and fellow DIGH track member, and they began collecting clothing and household items for donation.
“We both recognize and respect the role of Louisville as a new home to refugees. I see the My New Kentucky Home: Donation Drive as an excellent initiative for our school to recognize and show a sense of community to refugees in Louisville,” Lake said.
The Distinction in Global Health track teaches medical students with interests in global health how to approach the literature and conduct scholarly projects in this field.
“This project, which was totally student-initiated, is in addition to all the work they are doing in school and in the track. It has now turned into a project to help stock up the warehouses around Louisville so that we are more prepared, as a city, to meet the needs of the refugees we are expecting,” said Bethany Hodge, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Global Education Office of the UofL School of medicine and the DIGH program.
The group is collecting new or gently-used items including:
- Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing (greatest need is for winter clothes, shoes, socks, undergarments)
- Kitchen utensils, pots, pans, dish sets
- Bedding (blankets, comforters, fleece throws and sheets) and pillows
- Bath towels, hand towels and rags
Donations may be taken to Michael Keibler in the UofL Office of Student Affairs, “A” Building, 319 Abraham Flexner Way, Suite 210 through Friday, Jan. 29.
Items also may be dropped off at Migration Refugee Services, 2220 W. Market St. from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
To have furniture or other large items picked up, contact Chris Clements, Catholic Charities Assistant Community Resource Developer at 502-636-9263, ext 125