Students asked to go for a 'drive'

Sometimes even the jolly, bearded one needs some assistance. This holiday season, Volunteer Connection and the UCSD Staff Association will help bring Christmas to the sick and hungry of San Diego.

Starting Nov. 19, the UCSD community can make donations to this year’s Toy and Food Drive. The drive calls for nonperishable food items and new, unwrapped toys and gifts — anything from rattles to makeup to video games. Kaiser Permenente’s Pediatrics Unit will distribute the toys this year to hospitalized children. Nonperishable food items from the drive will benefit less fortunate San Diegans via the San Diego Food Bank.

Mirium Khwaja, Warren senior and assistant director of Volunteer Connection, coordinated last year’s Toy and Food Drive. In total, the drive collected 1,290 pounds of food and 800 toys last year, she said. The drive received the San Diego Food Bank’s Bronze Fork Award for its contribution of food.

Volunteers spent the majority of their time wrapping boxes for the toys, which were then distributed at over 20 toy-deposit locations on campus.

In the end, the students from VC — and Santa — were able to deliver the toys to sick children at Hillcrest Medical Center.

“”It was such a rewarding experience,”” Khwarja said.

The UCSD Staff Association initiated and managed the toy drive until three years ago, when Meredyth Potter White, head of the Staff Association’s toy drive, saw the potential for working with a student organization to expand the existing drive.

Echoing Khwarja, White said of the effort, “”It’s lots of work, but it’s rewarding.””

Without the cooperation of VC it couldn’t have been so successful, according to White.

Cooperation among students, faculty and staff has always been a goal for White. She has worked for over seven years with various campus organizations. In her experience, this has been the best coalition of two different groups.

“”Who knows what else may come of this great collaboration?”” she said.

The Toy and Food Drive will operate at 29 locations around campus and runs from Nov. 19 to Dec. 6. Toys can also be donated at the 27th Annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast on Dec. 11. Tickets for the breakfast will be on sale at the Price Center courtyard Nov. 28 though Nov. 30. For more information on the Toy and Food Drive check out the UCSD Staff Association Web site at http://morpheus.ucsd.edu/sa or call Volunteer Connection at (858) 534-1414.

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