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Dornsife Welcome Week Kicks Off with Volunteer Effort

Students volunteering at a nonprofit

September 21, 2018

New MPH students at The Dornsife School of Public Health started off their first term by getting right to work in their Philadelphia community. A group of 32 students gathered to volunteer at the Share Food Program in the Allegheny West neighborhood of North Philadelphia on September 17, 2018. After touring the facility and learning about the organization from Share's development manager, Mara Natkins, they participated in a lively group discussion about Share's work increasing access to healthy food in the neighborhood. They learned about food insecurity and the deep poverty rate in Philadelphia (25.7 percent, the highest of the nation's 10 largest cities, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts).

Inspired, in part, by what they learned, the students then packaged more than 300 boxes of groceries filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and canned goods, suitable for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for community members. "Nobody should have to choose between affording to feed their family or paying to keep a roof over their heads," said Rebecca Hosey, MPH Health Management and Policy '20.

Last year, Share brought 27 million pounds of emergency food relief to low-income Philadelphia residents facing hunger. Many Philadelphia families struggle to put food on the table, and the need continues.

Students also connected and bonded while volunteering. "It was a great way to meet fellow classmates," said Anthony Goetz, MPH Community Health and Prevention '20. "The short amount of time spent loading and hauling pallets of food for people in need really showed me how important teamwork is in public health."

In addition to the volunteer activity, Welcome Week 2018 at Dornsife included a Philadelphia Mural Arts tour, a resource fair where students learned about the school's extracurricular opportunities, and the annual Pinning Ceremony. This academic year, the Dornsife School of Public Health welcomes more than 140 new students.