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Mizzou students take winter break to humbly serve

A group of 12 University of Missouri students took a break from the snow in their home state to visit Houston in January, including a stop at Medical Bridges to volunteer, guided by a primary principle to "Serve, Don't Help."

The students represented Mizzou Alternative Breaks, which sends groups on trips around the U.S. over weekend and seasonal school breaks to "selflessly and humbly serve a community by doing service that they ask of us," according to its website. They were told to head South on their winter break, and the students - all health majors who didn't know each other before they loaded into two cars to drive to Houston -- chose this city to visit on their health-focused trip because of its Medical Center and many hospitals.

During their week in Houston, the group volunteered at Medical Bridges on the afternoon of Jan. 14, in addition to a few other health-related organizations, including Texas Children's Hospital, Methodist Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and Red Cross. They spent their days volunteering anywhere from five to eight hours per day, said one of the group's co-site leader, Sarah McCrate.

While at Medical Bridges, the students did a fantastic job of sorting medical supplies, prepping boxes and even using a pallet jack to move a few pallets around.

McCrate said she was personally pleased that the Mizzou students had chosen Medical Bridges as a place to volunteer.

"I love it because during spring break, I'm going to Guatemala," said the occupational therapy major. "Some of my professors and fellow students and I are bringing wheelchairs with us, and we're going to fit people for wheelchairs over there." Visiting Medical Bridges, McCrate said, allowed her to see the value of donated medical surplus.

"Yeah, you can go over there and do great things, but without the supplies, you can't do anything. It makes sense to me now to see the other side of the trips and how important this stuff is."

McCrate said she and the other Mizzou students enjoyed the visit to Medical Bridges so much, she could foresee another group returning next year during winter break again. We certainly hope so and would wholeheartedly welcome them back!


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