Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


SSW Sponsors Families Through Loyola Gives

SSW Sponsors Families Through Loyola Gives

Service is the first ethical principle listed in the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics. Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work embraced that tenet this month through the Loyola Gives program.

Loyola Gives asks departments, offices, and groups at Loyola to contribute money to purchase essential items for local families in need. In partnership with Catholic Charities’ Sponsor-A-Family program, SSW was matched with two eight-member families to help support this Christmas season.

Once donations were collected, it was time to put that money to use. SSW employees Jennifer Bernecker, Marquitta Dorsey, and Abha Rai volunteered to do the shopping and make the most of the money raised by the school. They said Loyola Gives was a great chance to reconnect with their colleagues and support a good cause.

“To be able to do something with them for someone else, it was fun and it was great to do something that made a tangible difference,” said Dorsey.

“This was a great way to bring everyone together,” said Rai. “Our school came together as one unit to support two families around the holidays – that was the beautiful part of this whole thing.”

But even more important than that sense of camaraderie was the impact these donations will make in supporting families during the holiday season.

The shoppers were provided lists of the families’ holiday needs. Winter items like coats, hats, and gloves were a common ask. One family had babies, so baby wipes and diapers were on their list. One of the families asked for dinnerware, so the shoppers allocated some of the funds to purchase a set of dishes.

“It gave me perspective that there are families that can get so much out of a little extra money,” said Rai. “It was nice and profound to see how much you can do with that money. And to know we were actively making someone’s Christmas better was really nice.”

Though the essentials were the focus, the shoppers did have enough money to purchase some toys for the kids, as well as some gift cards for the parents to pick out some items with the remaining funds.

Participating in Loyola Gives was certainly an enriching experience for the shoppers and the entire School of Social Work, as well as a reminder of the importance of taking direct action to serve others.

“We raised this money together as a community for families,” Dorsey added. “That is very much in line with our mission to be engaged with communities and do something that directly impacts them.”