Advisor Zayd Abukar Shares Buck-I-Serve Experience

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 2  through 9 I had the opportunity and privilege of engaging in a week of community service and learning in one of my all-time favorite cities: Atlanta, GA. Led by Marissa Reinhart and Lauren Johnson, our group consisted of 15 BSPS students, Beth Stiles (Registrar for the College of Pharmacy), and myself as we embarked on our journey of traveling, learning, and serving throughout the Atlanta area.

We engaged in variety of activities, but most notable was our time with MedShare and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. MedShare is a non-profit organization that acquires surplus medical supplies and redistributes them to developing countries around the world. By week’s end we had organized and packaged over 400 boxes of supplies that will be used to care for patients living in Guatemala, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. In the process we also saved roughly 3,700lbs of medical supplies from going into a landfill. At the ACFB, we sorted through almost 30,000lbs of food, which went on to provide a total of 24,998 meals to people in need throughout the Metro Atlanta area.

To say that I am proud of our impact in such a short amount of time would be an understatement!

With that said, the overall learning experience was just as if not more impactful. We interacted with community leaders, advocates, and health professionals, learning more in depth about HIV/Aids, common infectious diseases, and the healthcare system as a whole. Each night we held reflective discussions exploring how these matters coincide with the challenges of poverty and hunger – a topic area that sometimes tends to get overlooked in mainstream health care discourse.

I cannot say enough about how transformative this experience was for all of us. The conversations that took place, laughs we shared, perspectives we gained, and impact we had on that community will stay with us for a very long time. Special thanks to:

The Ohio State College of Pharmacy (www.pharmacy.osu.edu)

Ohio State Buck-i-Serv (www.buckiserv.osu.edu)

Medici Project (www.mediciproject.org)

Atlanta Community Food Bank (www.acfb.org)

MedShare (www.medshare.org)