After-hours: Giving New Immigrants a Boost
It's not part of her job, but when Commonwealth Medicine's Irene Wanjiku, a disability reviewer, sees need in her community, she springs into action. After meeting several families who had recently come to the U.S. to escape war in their native countries in Africa, she realized they were without the most basic necessities.
"They were very cold. Some of them didn’t have shoes. They had no sweaters on," Wanjiku said. "Some of them I actually had to bring them to my house to give them some food, some breakfast."
Through her interaction with the families, she realized that they were in an emergency situation.
With the help of her Disability Evaluation Services colleagues Jill Graham and Kathleen Nichols, Wanjiku took up a collection to provide the families with food, clothes, blankets, pillows, and furniture.
"Everyone at Disability Evaluation Services came together as a family," said Nichols. "And think about the fact that these weren't family members. They were complete strangers to us. We saw there was a need. We just stepped up to the plate."
Wanjiku, Nichols, and Graham described their experience in their own words in a video interview on UMassMed Now.