Students in the UAB M.S. in Health Administration program helped UAB Hospital surpass its goal of collecting more than 268 bicycles for the annual Salvation Army Toy Drive.

The effort was led by Ibukun Afon, a native of Nigeria who grew up in Atlanta and serves as VP of Philanthropy for Class 56, and Eric Williams, a dual MSHA and M.S. in Health Informatics student, who is VP of Philanthropy for Class 55.

The two classes raised $110 from a recent percentage night fundraiser and matched that amount with the MSHA philanthropy discretionary budget. The combination of donations and the matched gift purchased two bicycles, with helmets, and eleven unwrapped toys.

UAB Medicine Guest and Hospitality Services Manager Donita White, who leads the Toy Drive effort, estimates The Salvation Army will receive more than 300 bicycles donated this year once the drive ends today.

“Given the unique and unprecedented times we are in, partaking in this initiative has been a great way to stay connected with the community,” said Afon. “It warms my heart knowing that children who otherwise may not have had toys and bikes to play with will now have that opportunity this holiday season.”

“I’ve always lived by the motto of encouraging others by giving back to the communities surrounding me,” said Williams.

"We are very proud of the commitment to the community displayed by our MSHA students every year but especially today because this is particularly important with the challenging times for our state and country," said Amy Landry, Ph.D., Howard W. Houser Endowed Professor in Health Administration and director of the UAB Graduate Programs in Health Administration.

Afon, who works as a part-time nurse, is also leader of the Birmingham chapter of “Leave it to Us”, a non-profit organization of college students that provides free grocery and medication delivery service to senior citizens in need.

Williams, who is a 2019 alumnus of the UAB B.S. in Health Care Management program, is a data analyst of the Urology Centers of Alabama and in 2018 was named a Roadmap Fellow of Cities United, a group that supports a national network of mayors committed to reducing violence across the U.S. that affects young Black men.