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A Whole Lot of Chikin’ Helping A Whole Lot of People, Thanks to PCP Student

By Lauren Whetzel Siburkis

Through the Student Excellence and Professional Preparation Program (StEPP) at University of the Sciences, pharmacy student Chelsea Cunningham PharmD’16 coordinated several fundraisers to buy and fill more than 50 backpacks with essential items for homeless individuals across Philadelphia.

“It was a lot of work to coordinate the fundraisers and make all the backpacks, but the gratitude of those men and women made it all completely worth it,” said Cunningham. “This is my last year coordinating these events, but I hope to start something similar back in my hometown of Lancaster.”

The idea came from a simple YouTube video where a couple bought and filled about five backpacks per year with items such as food, water, first aid items, emergency blankets, clothing and toiletries. If they happened come across a homeless individual at a traffic light asking for change, the couple would just reach in the backseat and give the person a backpack.

Cunningham was inspired by this act of kindness, but also wanted to do more. On the USciences campus, she coordinated several Chick-Fil-A® fundraisers, raising nearly $1,000 to purchase backpack supplies. She teamed up with faculty member Scott Greene and his family who volunteer at Connect by Night – an organization that provides a warm, safe, overnight stay for homeless in the Philadelphia area. While the Greene family cooked and served dinner—also providing a brown-bag lunch for the next day—Cunningham was able to tell the men and women about the backpacks that each one would receive the following morning.

The StEPP Program will continue this effort for future years, and Cunningham has already passed the torch on to younger StEPP Mentors for the coming academic year.

Categories: News, Students, Academics, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Pharmacy, Pharmacy Administration