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Service Opportunity Returns to Employee Appreciation Day: Hygiene Kits for the SLC Rescue Mission

The University of Utah’s annual Employee Appreciation Day (EAD) brings together University employees for a day of free food, games, entertainment and, maybe most importantly, an opportunity to participate in a service project to help those in need. The EAD planning team is delighted to announce that the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City will once again be returning to this year’s event, and invite all guests to stop by their booth to participate in stuffing a hygiene kit for unhoused persons in the community. Guests will also be invited to write words of encouragement via notecards that will be included in the hygiene kits.

The goal is to stuff one thousand hygiene kits - containing much needed items like toothpaste, combs, soap, etc. – by the end of the EAD event taking place on Thursday, September 19 from 10 am – 2 pm at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“Last year, we realized we were bringing together over 4,500+ employees in one place and thought it would be a great opportunity for people to learn more about an important non-profit and actively participate in a service project,” says David Thomas, President of Staff Council and a member of the EAD planning committee. “For this reason, we have invited them back again this year! Stuffing a hygiene kit and writing a note of encouragement is such an easy activity that any guest can participate in, but one that makes a huge impact!”

Mac Saunders, Community Engagement Officer, will be stationed at the Mission’s booth and ready to answer questions and engage with guests about the important role they play in the community. Saunders has proudly been a part of the Mission for over twenty years, first as a volunteer and then as an employee starting in 2020. But the history of mission starts long before Saunder’s time with them, as the organization has been serving both the Ogden and Salt Lake City areas since 1972.

“The Mission’s goal has been the same for our 52 years of operation,” Saunders explains, “and that is to teach tools and strategies to help reform and transform people’s lives on their own terms, at their own pace.”

The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake City provides a wide variety of programs to those in need, including emergency services, a men’s and women’s shelter, two transitional housing programs, and the New Life Recovery Program for addiction recovery – “the heart and soul” of the Mission’s programs. Through this program, community engagement workers actively go out into camps for unhoused persons and engage them by providing information, services, and hygiene kits.

“The hygiene kits that will be stuffed at this year’s Employee Appreciation Day will be handed out to those in most need on the streets – those often thought less of by society,” Saunders says. “The hygiene kits offer them a sense of dignity during their hardest times, and serve as an introduction to the rest of the Mission’s services. It’s amazing how one act of kindness – or one note of encouragement included in a hygiene kit - can show someone the world cares about them.”

In addition to stuffing hygiene kits, guests at EAD can also learn more about how to get more involved by volunteering with the Mission.

“Much like the unhoused population we serve, many of our volunteers find us on their own terms, at their own pace,” Saunders explains. “We find that in our organization, volunteering is more about cultivating a passion. If you have a passion for helping people and improving your community, we nurture that passion first and then find a volunteer role that fits their passion. I encourage you to stop by our booth during EAD to learn more!”

If you are a University of Utah, HCI or U of U Health** employee or student employee, be sure to mark your calendar for Employee Appreciation Day on Thursday, September 19 from 10 am – 2 pm at Rice-Eccles Stadium! There are many other activities and entertainment opportunities at this year’s EAD – we recommend you check back frequently on the EAD website for more information on what to expect at this year’s event! We hope to see you there!

If you are a campus department or group who would like to table at EAD this year, please contact

**If you are a U of U Health employee in clinical position unable to attend the in-person event, please note that we will be bringing the celebration to you! Treat stations will be set-up at a number of clinic locations – check back on EAD website for more information or contact Kari Smith ( with the Hospitals & Clinics recognition team. 



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