Last fall UMass Medical School partnered with the Worcester Public Schools’ Coats for Kids program to provide new and gently used winter outerwear as part of its new North Quadrant Support Services initiative. The drive was launched to help students and their families, including approximately 180 children who arrived in Worcester from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“We were pleased to collect approximately 1,200 coats; a total of 1,000 hats, pairs of mittens and scarves; 50 pairs of boots; and gift certificates totaling $1,215,” said Kola Akindele, JD, senior director of government and community relations, who led the effort.
The coat drive is just one part of the recently launched UMMS North Quadrant Support Services initiative to address socioeconomic barriers to academic success faced by many students. The initiative builds on the highly successful 21-year Worcester Pipeline Collaborative, an academic partnership between the medical school and the North Quadrant of the Worcester Public Schools. The North Quadrant includes some of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in Worcester, beset by challenges ranging from food insecurity to homelessness.
The coat drive is also one of several ways the UMMS community is supporting hurricane relief efforts.