Loyola medical students, doctors and faculty join with community groups, churches to remove 18 guns from the streets of Maywood
MAYWOOD, Ill. â Medical students, doctors and faculty from Loyola University Health System pitched in with area churches and residents to raise $3,800 to help remove 18 guns from the streets of Maywood as part of the Maywood Community Gun Buy-Back Program.
The buy-back program gave local residents an opportunity to receive a $50 Visa gift card for every gun turned in, with no questions asked. Loyola's department of pathology donated $500 for the one-day program. Other big donors included the Rock of Ages Baptist Church, Maywood Fine Arts Association and a number of neighborhood Methodist churches.
âWe know that this program isn't the definitive answer to gun violence but it gives people a chance to get rid of a weapon that could otherwise be used in a crime,â said Zoe Smith, a second-year medical student who was a key promoter and organizer of the program.
Police were on hand to make sure the buyback went smoothly at the four Maywood churches (Rock of Ages Baptist Church, United Faith Missionary Baptist Church, Proviso Baptist Church and Neighborhood United Methodist Church) where the program took place. Loyola's Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola Medical Student Union, Village of Maywood, Maywood Health Initiative, Maywood Chamber of Commerce, Maywood Police Department and the Proviso Township Ministerial Alliance also participated in the program.
This year, volunteers collected 17 guns on a recent Saturday. The next day, a community resident turned in a gun at the Maywood Police Department. Last year's gun buyback program resulted in the collection of 79 guns during a five-day span.
"Last year we were able to collect 79 guns in five days. This year we collected 17 in one day. If you do math, 17 times five is 85, so we consider this year's effort more successful than last year's," Smith said. "Our goal for the future is to reach out to Broadview, Bellwood and Melrose Park to see if we can get volunteers and donors. We're only getting started."