Food drive helps spread holiday cheer

Food, clothing and toy donations were lined up on the Oviatt Library steps, on Nov. 14, to mark the closing of Unified We Serve’s Fourth Annual Clothing and Food Drive. Unified We Serve coordinator, Justin Weiss, said they set up this display every year in order to show that there is power in numbers and that if each person does a little, it amounts to something significant. Photo credit: Kat Russell / Multimedia Editor

Unified We Serve’s Fourth Annual Food and Clothing Drive ended Wednesday with the closing ceremony on the Oviatt Library stairs, celebrating the drive’s biggest donors.

“I’m awed at the participation and how many people donated,” said Talar Alexanian, United We Serve’s events assistant.

United We Serve, CSUN’s volunteer program, has been doing the drive since Nov. 5, accepting donations from students around campus. There were eight drop-off locations around the CSUN campus.

The donations will be given to MEND, which stands for Meet Each Need with Dignity, a volunteer organization that is based in the San Fernando Valley.

“(Unified We Serve) partners with MEND to serve the people of the community because a lot of people don’t know that there are people suffering here. You don’t have to go to skid row or another country to help people,” Alexanian said.

Monique Garcia, a Unified We Serve member, said the annual drive is taken in November every year to help those in need around the holidays.  Garcia got involved with the CSUN volunteer program because she feels compelled to help others. She said that her grandmother inspired her to get involved with volunteering because of her non-profit work.

“It’s great to show college students giving because a lot of people think young people don’t care about helping others,” Garcia said.

The closing ceremony thanked and gave awards to those groups and individuals that donated the most money over the nine-day drive. Lambda Chi Alpha had the most donations for a fraternity or sorority with 1000 total donations. The club with the most donations was Health Administration Students Association, which had 600 total donations. Hanna Khalifa donated the most for an individual, with 300 items.

Students were donating up until the very end of the ceremony, bringing carts full of clothes and food to the tent Unifier We Serve had set up on the Oviatt Library Lawn.

Marianne Jara, president of the Geography Council, donated three pairs of shoes on the last day of the drive, determining that she had too much stuff after organizing her house.

“I’m a believer in not having too many things so i decided to donate some stuff. It beats being a hoarder,” Jara said.

The Oviatt Library steps were completely blocked off, raising awareness for the food drive by having students question why they had to take an alternate route to the library.

Alexanian said that displaying the items along the Oviatt Library steps shows students that this is their event and shows how  much the students have donated.

“I’m happy that this is now becoming a known event around campus among departments and clubs,” Alexanian said.