Jennifer Amajirionwu, unit secretary on Dulles 6, has always been deeply invested in giving back to the community, primarily drawing from her own resources to support local underserved communities struggling with homelessness or addiction. Her dedication to service has even led her halfway across the world to Ghana, where she donated food and toiletries.

“Over the last five years, I’ve worked actively with small ministries and halfway houses to organize clothing drives, food drives, toiletry drives – lots of different programs,” Amajirionwu explained. “I tend to look for small community groups because they have limited resources and don’t receive large amounts of funding. I have a heart for service, and it can’t be limited to one cause or organization.”

Most recently, she helped Father’s Heart Ministry, reaching out to her HUP colleagues to help collect winter clothing for the ministry. Still, she wanted to do more. Using funds from her Penn Medicine CAREs grant, she organized a six-month food distribution project to provide food to those dealing with hunger and homelessness in North Philadelphia.

Each week, Father’s Heart sets up two tables on the street with bottled water, sandwiches, and snack packs, handing out food to those in need until the week’s supply runs out. Amajirionwu joins them once a month, rain or shine, to connect with the community and to distribute pamphlets with information about local shelters, halfway houses, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

“I’m there to talk and to offer help,” Amajirionwu said. “I think it’s important to remember that you can be as ‘helpful’ as you want by showing up, but if you pass judgment, it doesn’t work – they can feel that. The people who seek us out may be struggling with homelessness, with hunger, with drugs – but each of them has a story.”

Amajirionwu is determined to make a positive impact on as many people as possible through this project, and hopes that her successful experience with the CAREs grant inspires others to pursue it.

“Everyone is capable of giving back, and they don’t need to worry about not having enough time or all the resources,” she said. “If you find a cause that you’re interested in, the CAREs grant will help make it work.”

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