This holiday season, Ross Medical Education Center New Baltimore, Michigan campus partnered with Feeding the Need of Macomb and headed up a Plastic Bag Drive that ran from December 4th thru December 22nd. New Baltimore was very excited about this event as they were confident that it could be very impactful and effective, so they decided to invite the entire region to join them on their December collection journey. Ross Port Huron, Ross Davison, Ross Ann Arbor, Ross Canton, Ross College Sylvania, and the Clinton Township Corporate Office all joined forces with New Baltimore to collect as many plastic grocery bags they could to support the cause.
Macomb Feeding the Need started on February 28th, 2010 and their mission statement is to “Feed the Needs of the Community Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit.” The organization aims to feed the homeless members of their community’s bodies with meals, feed their minds with encouragement, feed their souls with warm clothing, and feed their spirits with hope. Their ultimate goal is to earn the trust of individuals in need and help even more individuals and families get off the streets and become self-sufficient and active members of their communities.
The Ross collection of the plastic bags went to this wonderful organization when volunteers from Feeding the Need came together to hand make Mats for the Homeless. It takes 700 plastic bags to make one mat, and the Ross campuses were determined to collect and donate as many as possible. The Mats for the Homeless project started in just last year after an event called the Homeless Sleep Out. Those participating slept outdoors in January to experience what it was like to be homeless in the local area. The comments they shared were that it was difficult to get and stay warm because of how cold the ground was. They began to research ways to protect the homeless from the cold of the ground. After stumbling upon a video online from Nicaragua that was about the production of handbags out of plastic bags, they discovered that the insulation that is provided may be exactly the way to go. They made an experimental mat out of the bags and discovered that it worked well to keep heat from escaping the body and from taking in the cold from the ground.
Jennifer Maniaci, Campus Director in New Baltimore, shared, “I was completely astonished by the amount of community participation and Ross campus support. It was a wonderful turnout and just makes you feel good! Together the Ross campus locations did a fabulous job communicating the importance of this event to their staff and students, and because of this, we had an overwhelming amount of participation and the collection period was a huge success!” Combined, the campuses collected and donated well over 30,000 plastic bags. This number is not only outstanding but gives nearly 50 homeless individuals a mat to rest on and stay warm. “It was such a fulfilling moment when we dropped off the plastic bags and saw the shocked and very grateful reactions from Cheryl Becigneul, Founder and Executive Director as well as the organization’s volunteers,” shared Assistant Campus Director of Education Tammy Stanson. “We look forward to partnering up with Feeding the Need again in the near future.”