By Cindy Kronman, MRICD
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The equal opportunity committee at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense found a unique way to recognize Women’s Equality Day this year.
The committee collected nonperishable food, paper supplies and personal hygiene items from coworkers during the month of August and, on Sept. 12, delivered the donations to SARC, or the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center, in Bel Air, Maryland.
SARC Chief Executive Officer Luisa Caiazzo, and Jill Fellman, the organization’s community outreach coordinator, received the donations from MRICD’s senior enlisted advisor Master Sgt. Joretha Carodine, and committee members Spc. Stephanie Kaham-Ward, Staff Sgt. Trenise Porch-Sylvester, and Sherwin Sapasap.
“SARC is very grateful for these generous donations to our food pantry,” Caiazzo said. “Support like this from the community is critical toward meeting SARC’s mission to support victims of violence.”
“When planning something for Women’s Equality Day, we started by looking at issues women face, for example, seeking employment after being in a domestic violence situation,” said Porch-Sylvester, explaining what prompted the donation.
Such considerations, continued Porch-Sylvester, led the committee to SARC, which offers a variety of services, including safe housing, to individuals escaping domestic violence. They discovered that the organization was running low on supplies in the safehouse pantry. Realizing that such items would be constantly in demand, the committee decided to, in a way, extend SARC’s campaign by collecting donations.
Kaham-Ward took the lead in the project. She contacted SARC, alerted MRICD staff, and set up donation boxes. Employees generously donated a variety of food, including kid-friendly Pop Tarts and peanut butter—especially appreciated by the SARC staff—as well as hygiene products, such as tooth paste and body wash.