An outgoing St. Mary’s High School Senior and Eagle Scout Candidate, Matt Geiger, heard about SET Family Medical Clinics, a non-profit organization, and their “Suitcase Campaign” when looking for an Eagle project to achieve his Eagle Scout rank. His Scout Master and good friend John Combs had brought SET Family Medical Clinics and this special project to his attention.
The Suitcase campaign was a small and simple fundraiser that SET Family Medical Clinics began in January of 2009. It was created to collect personal hygiene items for SET’s Homeless Clinic and Ex-Offender Program patients. During its inception the staff never could have imagined what this High School Senior was capable of and how much he would grow and expand the project.
“I met with Mrs. Cronin (Director of Development at SET) about the SET Suitcase Drive because it really seemed like a good cause, to get these essential hygiene items to the people who need them, things that I take for granted.” Matt shared.
Matt is exactly right, these little items such as toothpaste, disposable razors, deodorant, lotion, shampoo etc. most people don’t give a second thought to when using them. Those very items are the ones that can make a huge difference in a less fortunate person’s life.
A couple weeks after Matt took on this project SET had caught word that he was doing something far above and beyond what SET ever dreamed this simple campaign would be. He began leading volunteers in speaking about SET and the Suitcase Campaign to different churches and at his own school. Matt and his volunteers also set up collection points to accept donations at various locations. As the donations came in, they would bring them back to his family’s garage to be sorted.
Matt was amazed with the response he received “I was really impressed with all the support I received from friends, family and complete strangers. They really donated a lot and I couldn't thank them enough.”
Matt went on to collect items for about two months “People are still giving me things” he says. After the initial donations were collected Matt and his fellow scouts began to assemble the items into individual hygiene kits. At the end of the project they had assembled 436 hygiene kits and received over $400 in cash donations.
“I hadn't heard about the SET Clinic until I started the project but it was fun working with them, they have a great program and I admire them deeply for the work that they're doing.” Matt Geiger
Scott and Angie Geiger also definitely deserve a bit of acknowledgement for letting their home be a hub for this massive project. “It was a pleasure for Matt to do his project in support of the clinic. Barb was so good to work with and he really felt it was worthwhile.” Angie Geiger
SET hopes Matt’s story encourages people to be more involved in their community. Anyone can get involved; you don’t have to be as ambitious as Matt to make a difference. Donations and support of any kind big or small are a huge help in SET’s efforts to serve the uninsured, underinsured and low income people in our community. The clinics are always in need of deodorant, chap sticks, cough drops, socks, razors ect. For more information on how you can make a difference and even start your own campaign. Visit the SET Family Medical Clinics website at WWW.SETOFCS.ORG or call 719-776-8850.
Congratulations to Matt on a project well done & for achieving the well deserved rank of Eagle Scout!
Written by Katey L. Burdick