Love Packages for Vets
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MAXIMUS employees in Topeka, Kansas show their support to veterans and the local VA hospital.
MAXIMUS employee Diane Nicholson, whose husband is a veteran, approached the MAXIMUS Health Services KanCare Clearinghouse project site in Kansas about holding a drive to collect items for the local VA Hospital and Campus. Diane's family is deeply committed to veteran support. She is a member of the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America and her husband started a chapter in Ottawa, KS. Diane's request for a site-wide event received fast approval by MAXIMUS and team members were quickly appointed to a committee, driving inter-department competition.
The competition commenced and the initial goal of 1,000 items was met within only 4 workdays. A new goal of 5,000 was then surpassed less than 2 weeks later. The team held a bake sale and collected other monetary donations that enabled them to buy and donate the remaining items from the VA’s wish list, such as a flat screen TV.
The items collected by MAXIMUS staff included personal care items such as shampoo and deodorant, socks and t-shirts, games and puzzles, as well as microwave popcorn and other snacks. The staff delivered these "love packages" delivered during “Salute to Hospitalized Veterans” week in February.
On Friday, February 13, a group of five employees presented the VA with 7,546 items, meeting all requested items from the wish list. Included was a giant handmade valentine card with team photos which was signed by all the staff.
During a celebratory all-staff meeting, Diane gave her heartfelt thanks, sharing how important it was that our veterans know people care. She share that she wished that each employee could have seen the faces of the veteran volunteers when the five fully loaded cars and trucks came to a stop in front of the VA. As the vehicles were unloaded, the group grew more and more excited to see all the items for the hospitalized veterans to enjoy.
As Diane said, “This all came about from one small request.”
Carol Huffman is the office manager of Health Services, KanCare Clearinghouse in Topeka, Kansas.