Midwest honors Dr. King with Day of Service celebration
This year, Midwest Eye-Banks celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with its own Day of Service. Staff at each of our affiliates chose a unique way to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
“I’m so pleased that Midwest Eye-Banks is supporting this holiday because I do think it speaks volumes about our culture and our values,” said Debbie May-Johnson, executive director of the Cleveland Eye Bank.
Affiliates chose a variety of ways to serve their communities:
Cleveland Eye Bank staff volunteered at Transplant House, which provides accommodations for people whose family members are waiting for life-saving transplants. They cooked a full meal for residents, tore down Christmas decorations and added Valentines décor to apartments.
Lions Eye Bank of New Jersey staff volunteered at Josephine’s Place, an organization that empowers women by helping them develop computer skills.
Staff members at the Illinois Eye-Bank’s Chicago office gathered to make Valentine’s Day cards to send to senior living homes in the city and are collecting items to be donated to a local Ronald McDonald House.
Staff from the Illinois Eye-Bank, Watson Gailey volunteered at Home Sweet Home mission’s “Bread for Life” co-op, which helps low-income individuals and families struggling with food insecurity use their own abilities to provide food for themselves and their families.
The Michigan Eye-Bank packed 20 care packages for soldiers serving overseas and encouraged staff to share their individual observances on a board in the lobby.
The Communications and Logistics Center worked with Dezirae’s Helping Hands, which is dedicated to helping the homeless population in the Detroit Metro Area.
May-Johnson first brought the idea to celebrate MLK Day to the Leadership Team a year ago. The idea was approved, and a committee was put together to decide how the holiday could best be recognized on a corporate level.
“Debbie’s focus, and the committee’s focus, was solidifying our place in the fabric of the communities we serve,” said Ramona Bashshur, project coordinator. “We wanted to affirm that we as a corporation espouse these ideals and wanted to give our employees the opportunity to do something that was meaningful to them as a representative of Midwest Eye-Banks.”
The team – Director of Human Resources Jan Ableson, Bashshur, May-Johnson and Executive Coordinator/Board Liaison Darlene Wade – collaborated to find the most effective way to recognize the holiday across the organization. Ultimately, they decided the best approach was to encourage each service area to organize unique events that were meaningful to their employees and their local communities.
“Even though we’re a nonprofit and we serve the community on a daily basis, we also rely on the community to be successful,” May-Johnson said. “The community gives so much to us, so this was a great way to give back and to honor Dr. King’s legacy and what he stood for.”
More than a Father and Daughter
Alexandria Scarbro (Alex) was a girl who could be friends with anyone. She had the charisma and ability to befriend people within minutes of meeting them, and she did so everywhere she went. Alex was a caring and passionate friend, always going out of her way to make each person feel special. This compassion was just one of many traits she shared with her father, David.
This inspirational video emphasizes the significant impact that tissue donation can make on the lives of others. View the video on YouTube.
The Illinois Eye-Bank and the Illinois Eye-Bank, Watson Gailey are subsidiaries of Midwest Eye-Banks, a charitable, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of sight. We recover, evaluate and distribute human eye tissue for transplantation.
As part of our mission, we support preliminary research into the causes and cures of blinding eye conditions. Through public and professional education programs, we encourage people to learn about eye, organ and tissue donation. We believe education is the key to making an informed decision about donation, and is also an important way for us to secure funding for the community services we provide.
We also provide humanitarian aid to those unable to afford transplantation procedures, both at home and abroad, by waiving our service fees when a charitable need exists.