Sydney Shepherd and Maya Radic are second-year medical students at the UK College of Medicine-Northern Kentucky Campus and serve as house presidents of the Appaloosa and Rhinelander Houses, respectively. In conjunction with house officers and faculty, they launched the “November House of Giving” initiative this year. 

“With this initiative, we aimed to provide service opportunities to our students (M1-M4) during each week of November to increase engagement of our students within the Northern Kentucky community—all while providing lasting memories,” said Shepherd. Reflecting on the past month, she added “I have truly enjoyed participating in these events, as well as seeing our campus come together to give back to this amazing community.” 

During the first week of November, the campus kicked off its third annual blanket drive to benefit the Nurse Advocacy Center for the Underserved (NACU). Last year, students were able to collect more than 300 items to benefit the organization, which works to increase access to health care for the underserved by providing culturally appropriate primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions through nursing care delivered directly to underserved populations in the community. 

The blanket drive will run until Jan. 12, 2024, with donation boxes located at both the Albright Health Center and St. Elizabeth Healthcare student lounges. Items needed include new or gently used blankets, coats, sweaters, hats, winter shoes, scarves, and gloves. 

In collaboration with the Brighton Center, medical students also hosted a military-themed bingo game at nearby senior living communities to celebrate Veterans Day. The Brighton Center partners with individuals and families to help them reach financial stability and independence. And seniors, who often live on a fixed income, benefit from rent costs based on income through the Brighton Center’s properties. 

The “November House of Giving” continued with several students participating in the 16th annual Turkeyfoot Trot 5K run/walk to benefit the Northern Kentucky Council of St. Vincent de Paul, a nonprofit organization that works to provide basic necessities to those in need, as well as conducting home visits to offer spiritual, emotional, and material assistance.   

To conclude the “November House of Giving,” students took the opportunity to support Go Pantry by volunteering and hosting a food drive. Students visited the Go Pantry warehouse in Florence, Ky. on Dec. 1 to pack Christmas food boxes for the community. During holiday breaks, many school-aged students lose access to their primary food source, and Go Pantry works to ensure no meals are missed. Go Pantry has been feeding local kids in northern Kentucky who rely on free and reduced lunch programs during the school year since 2012, providing more than 1,200 kids with weekly food support. Megan Yadav, a third-year medical student, took the lead on organizing this year’s Go Pantry food drive which will continue to collect donations until Dec. 15.