‘Tis the season for receiving gifts and giving back, and the UTC School of Nursing did both by providing foot care to Chattanooga’s homeless population and giving the gifts of much needed clothing and personal hygiene products to some of Chattanooga’s most vulnerable populations.

Nursing students have participated in the foot care clinic at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen every fall and spring semester since 2008. For six weeks, students provide necessary foot care to the feet of the homeless.

“This experience provides our undergraduate nursing students the opportunity to provide care for homeless individuals. Students experience firsthand the challenges of people living on the street or in shelters. Activities such as the foot care initiative put a face and a name on the homeless and gives us the opportunity to assist in finding other health care resources an individual may need,” Dr. Kay Lindgren, Director of the School of Nursing, said.

In addition to volunteering at the foot care clinic, each semester, the students do a drive to raise money or to collect donated items for the community kitchen. This semester, students collected coats, socks, gloves, and other clothing items.

“We had two large barrels and a large box full of items. When they were piled high, students transported the barrels to the community kitchen and returned to collect more. I have never seen so many nice coats and jackets,” Lindgren said.

The Student Nurses Association, a student led organization sponsored by the UTC School of Nursing, also does a community service project based on identified needs of vulnerable populations in the local community. Last year, the students collected toiletry items for the Ronald McDonald House for use by families staying there. This year, the students chose to collect personal hygiene products for the clients at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute (MBMHI).

“The drive was to a friendly competition between the students to see which group could collect the most needed items. We had such a strong response. By the end of the drive, the students transported five large boxes to MBMHI,” Lindgren said.

“The nursing profession’s roots are firmly planted in service to individuals, groups, and communities. The School of Nursing community service projects benefit the health needs of high-risk groups, and this tradition has been on going since the founding of the School by Professor Emeritus Mary B. Jackson. The faculty and students want to continue that tradition because it provides our students with an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility to those in our community,” she continued.

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