UF medical students collect donations for Project Downtown

Raffle items donated by local Gainesville businesses including Swamphead Brewery and Susan F. Harrison Fine Arts.

First and second year UF College of Medicine students united to celebrate the holidays, while helping the local community at the First Annual Holiday Social for Charity, held Dec. 2.

The American Medical Association at UF teamed up with local chapters of the Hispanic Medical Student Association and the Student National Medical Association for the toy and clothing drive.

The holiday charity event was a way for first- and second-year students to gather together before the first-year students start their preceptorships in mid-December, said Hasan Rasheed, who is the UF AMA’s community service chair and a second-year medical student.

“But at the same time we wanted to give back to the Gainesville community,” he said.

The two-part event featured a catered social at the Wildflower Apartments clubhouse and an ‘after party’ at Tall Paul’s Brew House. The price of admission to the social was two pieces of winter clothing, a toy or $5. Funds were also raised through a raffle for items donated by local businesses, including Swamphead Breweries and the Hippodrome. A $3 cover charge was collected at Tall Paul’s Brew House to raise funds for charity.

Clothes and toys collected by first- and second-year medical students.

About 100 students collected 60 items of winter clothing for the homeless, more than 20 toys for children and about $950 for Project Downtown, a local charity which providing services to homeless, disadvantaged and indigent individuals. The clothing will be handed out by Project Downtown Dec. 10 during their 1 p.m. lunch service.

Rasheed said the organizers were pleased with the turnout and hope the charity social will become an annual holiday event.

“We are hoping to have future groups continue this and keep this going,” he said.