From spearheading canned food drives to collecting toys for underprivileged children, UC Merced students, staff and faculty are giving back this holiday season.
A group of UC Merced students spent the week before Thanksgiving collecting canned food for local needy families. About 30 Kappa Sigma fraternity members gathered nonperishable food items as part of the organization’s community service efforts. In preparation for the food drive, the fraternity members passed out flyers throughout Merced neighborhoods the week prior to collection.
“Our group feels that doing a canned food drive is a way to give back to the community that has given us so much,” said student Jeremy Ho, who serves as the fraternity’s public relations representative. “Knowing that the holidays were right around the corner, we decided that it was a great time to give back, especially to families in need during the hard economic times.”
In all, the Kappa Sigma collected and donated more than 2,000 pounds of canned food to the Merced Food Bank.
Another student club that is giving back is American Women Making a Difference. The student club raised almost $300 during a yard sale and donated it to the United Way to feed the needy in the area. Members of the club joined community members and assembled meal baskets at the United Way last month.
UC Merced’s Staff Assembly wrapped up its 2011 canned food drive, collecting more than 385 pounds of nonperishable food items from members of the campus community for the Merced County Food Bank.
“Every year this event is even more successful than the last,” said Laura Butler, chair of programs, events and outreach for Staff Assembly. “We couldn’t do it without generous donations from the UC Merced community and the Staff Assembly community service subcommittee and our partnership with the Merced County Food Bank staff and volunteers. We aspire to contribute even more to the Merced community and families in need during holiday seasons to come.”
In conjunction with the canned food drive, Lending a Hand — a student program hosted by the Office of Student Life’s Leadership Programs — tabled on campus in an effort to encourage students to think about how they spend resources and challenged them to sign a promise to spend one day without modern luxuries. Students were provided ways they can contribute to their community and were asked to donate nonperishable food items.
The Office of Student Life is also collecting unopened toys during its sixth annual toy drive to benefit children in the local community.