November was a busy month at the Ross Medical Education Center campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan as staff and students joined with other Ross campuses in the 6th Annual Food Drive as well as giving thanks for our veterans. The campus selected a local food rescue and food bank, Food Gatherers, to be the beneficiary of this year’s drive. According to their website, “Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in the community by: reducing food waste through the rescue and distribution of perishable and non-perishable food, coordinating with other hunger relief providers, educating the public about hunger, and developing new food resources.”
Food Gatherers is not only Michigan’s first food rescue program, but it is also the first program of its kind to be founded by a for-profit business, Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1988, Food Gatherers provides enough food for more than 15,000 meals a day to 150 community programs serving their neighbors, mostly families and children, in need of food. Over 6,000 different volunteers donate their time to Food Gatherers annually. In fact, volunteers account for almost 70% of all hours worked at Food Gatherers. Since 1988, Food Gatherers has distributed more than 54 million pounds of food throughout Washtenaw County.
According to their website, Food Gatherers chose a carrot as their logo because it is nutritious, practical, and has deep roots, just like the organization. Students and staff donated items from pasta, to canned foods, to even pet food! Instructor Sarah Ledesma from the Ann Arbor Dental Assistant program said she is “so proud of our students, since many of them are struggling themselves.”
The campus also celebrated United States veterans by preparing over 50 holiday cards to be distributed at the VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor. Daniel Glatter, Instructor in the Ann Arbor Medical Assistant program and Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration program, spearheaded the event by inviting students to share photos and memorabilia from family members who have served in the military. Campus Director Susan Mall said, “Mr. Glatter is an Air Force veteran and we are so proud he is able to inspire our students to appreciate those who have served”.
The VA Health Administration continues to meet veterans’ changing medical, surgical, and quality-of-life needs. New programs provide treatment for traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, suicide prevention, female veteran needs, and more. According the VA website, “VA has opened outpatient clinics, and established telemedicine and other services to accommodate a diverse Veteran population, and continues to cultivate ongoing medical research and innovation to improve the lives of America’s patriots.”
The VA Health Administration operates one of the largest health care systems in the world and provides training for a majority of America’s medical, nursing, and allied health professionals. Roughly 60% of all medical residents obtain a portion of their training at VA hospitals, and VA medical research programs benefit society at large.