For the second year, Our Daily Bread was proud to host members of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine Service Learning Class (Class of 2024!) This class is dedicated to helping medical students engage with the community and provide a service back to the community while learning about those determinants which impact health.
This year presented several challenges for on-site service learning, but this group of eleven students showed they have the tenacity and problem-solving skills to be fantastic doctors. Each student volunteered on-site to get a feel for our agency – one student even helped patch up a volunteer who had a carrot chopping mishap – but they were unable to engage with our guests in the way they would have liked.
Via several Zoom meetings with Executive Director Georgine Getty, the students worked on solutions to new issues facing ODB guests due to the pandemic. One issue was that most other soup kitchens and faith groups who had provided meals on the weekends were forced to stop. We started providing weekend bags of shelf-stable food on Fridays to help our guests make it through the weekend. We were limited to pop-top cans due to our guests not having can openers, and this significantly reduced the variety of food choices. The students researched, fundraised, and distributed 96 pocket-sized can openers to our guests. They sat outside in groups of four (on the coldest days of the winter!) and conducted health interviews with our guests while distributing canned goods and the can openers.
The information they collected was extremely useful for future planning. They discovered that 52% of our guests were unable to find shelter at some point in 2020. They also found that 44% of our guests do not get enough food over the weekend. 87% of our guests felt that the can-opener and canned food will help alleviate their food insecurity on weekends.
Finally, the students helped us compile some fact sheets to distribute to our guests with information about the COVID vaccine. We hope this information will help alleviate some misgivings our guests may have about getting vaccinated. We are so grateful to the students and really look forward to seeing all of the wonderful things they will continue to do to make our community healthier!