UVU’s IT department collected and assembled around 200 necessities kits for Tucker’s Totes, the department’s chosen local charity for the holidays, in December 2018 as part of their annual fundraising efforts.
Tucker’s Totes provides small totes containing basic hygiene necessities for families at hospitals, like Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, that don’t have such items when they arrive. Each tote contains things such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and razors.
Eddie Sorensen is UVU’s senior director of IT infrastructure. The charity is named after his nephew, Tucker. When Tucker died in 2016 his family decided to donate his organs —saving four lives— and leading them to have to stay at the hospital. This experience is what inspired them to start Tucker’s Totes.
“By the time they got the donors arranged and everything set up…[the family] was there for several days,” Sorensen said. “They did not want to leave because Tucker to them was just asleep. They had absolutely nothing.”
During the holidays, Sorensen and the IT department decided their charitable cause would be Tucker’s Totes. IT employees donated money and supplies, and packed the boxes over the holidays.
Mindi Snyder, Tucker’s aunt, helps run the charity. She said the IT department’s effort was incredible and praised the work they did to help spare other families some of the struggles her family went through.
“We were washing our socks in the sinks and drying them with the hand dryers,” she said.
Snyder went on to say that Sorensen’s cost-saving ideas, such as buying in bulk through medical supply companies, are what enabled UVU to achieve such a large donation.
The IT department also received generous donations from companies like Stonehaven Dental, which supplied dental kits for every box the department assembled.
For people like Rylie Bleyle, whose child is a patient at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, Snyder’s story is familiar.
“We had to go to Walmart and buy [clothes] because we had nothing but what we were wearing,” she said.
Tucker’s Totes can be found on Facebook. On their page they coordinate donations and volunteering for anyone who wants to help. The IT department still has totes to assemble and any further donations can be brought to them or donated to Tucker’s Totes directly.