Women's Center gets and gives

“”My entire car was filled to take over to the Women’s Resource Center in Oceanside,”” said Emelyn A. Dela Pena, program director at the Women’s Center. She spoke of last year’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, an effort that was repeated this year with considerable success.

Continuing, she described the reaction of those at the Center who received what she carted over.

“”The look on their faces when I arrived was amazing,”” Dela Pena said. “”All they could say was that we were going to fill their pantries for a while.””

Though the deadline for the Thanksgiving food drive has passed, the mission to provide for those in need continues as the Women’s Center holds its Holiday Food Drive, which will run until Dec. 10.

Preferred items, which can be donated to the Women’s Center, are any nonperishable food items or traditional holiday foods such as stuffing mix and gift certificates for turkey or ham.

“”Last year was our first time doing a food drive, and the response was overwhelming,”” said Dela Pena. “”People from the community and from UCSD gave us a tremendous response.””

Accompanying the Holiday Food Drive is a Dress for Success Drive, in which the Women’s Center is collecting interview-appropriate attire for low-income women. The nonprofit organization collects suits and professional wear and then distributes them to women as they move into the workforce.

“”People have been mailing in suits all the way from San Francisco,”” Dela Pena said.

The coats, jackets and suits are draped and stacked in boxes around the back offices of the Women’s Center, revealing the generosity of the San Diego community. Any outside contributions — especially blouses and unopened makeup — are greatly appreciated, according to Dela Pena.

In April, the Center held a cell phone donation drive and received over 120 donations.

“”The cell phones all went to a ‘Call to Protect’ program, which activates them for service workers or victims of domestic violence,”” Dela Pena said.

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