For many native Tucsonans, out of state visitors, and students, winter is a welcome change from the intense heat of summer. But for those who do not have the luxury of shelter, Tucson’s winter temperature swings of 30 degrees or more and near freezing nighttime lows are difficult and dangerous. This Fall, the University Fellows Program partnered with WORKship, a nonprofit organization with 16 years of experience serving Tucson’s homeless, to make preparing for winter a little easier and to raise awareness of the challenges facing some members of our community.
Graduate students in all three University Fellows cohorts organized a campus donation drive for cold weather clothing, blankets, and toiletries. Facilities Management’s Dave Munro and the Fellows’ building managers and departments provided invaluable assistance during the collection. University Fellows Kelly Dew-Budd (Plant Sciences), Kevin Doubleday (Biostatistics), Brooke Finley (Nursing), Ana Florea (Epidemiology), Caroline Geisler (Animal Sciences), Matt Godfrey (Marketing), Andrew Kunihiro (Nutritional Sciences), Terry Pitt-Brooke (Choral Conducting), José Luis Ruiz Duarte (Systems and Industrial Engineering), and Pam Yabeny (American Indian Studies GIDP) hosted donation sites across campus and in the community. Their efforts resulted in over 300 pounds of donations collected during a two-week period – everything from jackets, sweaters, shirts, pants, beanies, sleeping bags, toiletries, and blankets.
Concluding the donation drive, Fellows from the Fall 2016 cohort volunteered at WORKship’s weekly brunch and support program at Z Mansion in downtown Tucson. They distributed donations, prepared and served brunch, assisted physicians and nurses in the triage unit, and distributed sack lunches for nearly two hundred attendees. Men, women, children, veterans, and the elderly who attended were all working towards making their way out of homelessness. Support programs such as WORKship serve as a reminder of the challenges that many communities face. They also provide a great opportunity to become an active part of the solution to these complex challenges.
WORKship meets at 9 AM on Sundays at the Z Mansion in downtown Tucson (288 N. Church Avenue) and has recently expanded operations throughout the rest of the week. To learn more about WORKship and to get involved, visit www.workship.org.
In picture above, from left to right: Edna Osuna (Finance), Juli Kim (Hispanic Linguistics), José Luis Ruiz Duarte (Systems and Industrial Engineering), Sarah Price (Psychology), Kristy Gilman (Nutritional Sciences), Tanya Jeffries (Computer Science), Junmo Ahn (Mining and Geological Engineering), Matthew Klass (Physiological Sciences), and Katie Chenard (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Not pictured: Josh Uhlorn (Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences)