More than 35 Rush Oak Park Hospital employees took time out from their busy work schedules on Friday to help out and learn about charitable organizations in the community.
The group packaged more than 200 meals at the hospital before breaking off into three teams and heading out to deliver 67 boxes of unperishable food to three community organizations: The Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, Sarah’s Inn and Hephzibah Children’s Association. The food pantry provides hunger relief and education services, while Sarah’s Inn provides services for families affected by domestic violence, and Hephzibah is Oak Park’s longest serving social service that offers safety, health and happiness of children and families through child care and child welfare programs.
The event, organized by the Rush Office of Community Engagement, is part of Rush’s new Volunteer Program. Employees receive up to eight hours of paid time to volunteer in the community through specific Rush projects each fiscal year. Rush Oak Park Hospital’s effort was in conjunction with a similar event taking place at Rush University Medical Center also on Friday. Medical Center employees brought food and supplies to nonprofit organizations throughout Chicago’s West Side.
Rush Oak Park Hospital employees packaged meal kits, called MATTERboxes, a concept pioneered by MATTER, a nonprofit organization working to improve health around the world. MATTER provided the boxes and supplied the food. Each team of employees then delivered the boxes to one of the three organizations and received a tour of the facility. They were then put to work, helping out in whatever capacity needed.
“This was a great opportunity for our employees to give back and learn more about these organizations that do important work,” said Nathaniel Powell, Rush Oak Park Hospital’s community engagement coordinator. “Along with all the other great work we do in and for the community, this is part of Rush’s overall Anchor Mission, and we’ll continue to do more events like this going forward.”