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UMass Chan stuff-a-cruiser event nets 3,500 pounds of food for local nonprofits

State and local police partner with med school in support of Why Me and Veterans Inc.

Police cruisers lined up outside of UMass Chan Medical School on Tuesday, Nov. 15, for a Thanksgiving stuff-a-cruiser event to support Why Me & Sherry’s House and Veterans Inc. ahead of the holiday.

The competition to fill the vehicles from the UMass Chan Department of Public Safety, Worcester Police Department, Shrewsbury Police and the Massachusetts State Police started at sunrise and ended well after sunset, collecting 3,500 pounds of nonperishable food items.

“We have so many great partnerships with the surrounding communities that we work with. We figured we could have a little competition amongst ourselves, and we could also do some good for the community and open it up to the schools to have their own competitions of who could donate the most,” said UMass Chan public safety Sgt. Brett Rand.

Each cruiser was assigned to teams of students from the T.H. Chan School of Medicine (Worcester Police), Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing (UMass Chan Public Safety) and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (Shrewsbury Police) or faculty and staff (Mass State Police).

“We’ve talked about the importance of giving back. We see so many families that are in need, especially at the hospital and in the city, that it's great for all of us to be able to give back to them,” Sgt. Rand said.

At the start of the day, each vehicle was weighed before any donations were accepted. They were weighed again at the end of the day to determine who collected the most.

Each department also tallied monetary donations, with every $1 collected adding a pound to the total weight.

The winning cruiser, the Worcester Police Dept., collected 1,300 pounds of food from Chan School of Medicine students.

“It’s an awesome initiative. It’s nice it brings all three schools together to help the Worcester community and donating to a great cause,” said medical student Vanya Zvonar, who dropped about a dozen bags of items donated by medical students. “It’s an amazing thing and it’s nice to be able to step out of our bubble and connect with the community. It’s really meaningful.”

UMass Chan Public Safety will host a pizza party for the medical students for donating the most food.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins, Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent, UMass Chan Deputy Chief Nancy O’Loughlin, Shrewsbury Police Lt. Nick Perna, Worcester Police Community Outreach Officer Rebecka Mailea, Massachusetts State Police Community Liaison Trooper Farrah Gray, along with several Worcester Police, Shrewsbury Police, UMass Chan Public Safety officers and Massachusetts State Police troopers were on hand to donate and help out at Tuesday’s event.

The Worcester Police Department’s Mounted Unit also made an appearance.

UMass Chan related news stories:
Stuff-a-cruiser event at UMass Chan to support Why Me, Veterans Inc. on Nov. 15
UMass Medical School Police collect gifts for children in need