Campus gives back for the holidays

    Lori Drahota

    Getting an early start on the holiday spirit of charity and giving, various UCSD student organizations are participating in toy drives, food drives, movie exchanges for donations and a cupcake exchange to collect toys for a health clinic in Ensenada, Mexico.

    The A.S. Volunteer Connection, in conjunction with the UCSD Staff Association, is sponsoring the Annual Toy Drive Collection to gather toys to donate to San Diego children’s hospitals during the holiday season.

    “”There are 19 containers that looked like wrapped boxes around campus,”” student organizations advisor Emily Marx said. “”Everyone is encouraged to bring unwrapped new toys to the bins to be donated to the children’s hospitals after the Annual Pancake Breakfast.””

    The Toy Drive will continue to run until the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Dec. 10. The toys will then be taken to the pediatric wards of Kaiser Hospital and UCSD Medical Center.

    “”Someone will dress up as Santa Claus to deliver the toys, and a few volunteers at the Volunteer Connection will dress up as his elves,”” A.S. Volunteer Connection executive director Kimmy Chela said. “” Last year the students had donated enough toys for the hospital to continue giving them out for a whole year. I’m hoping that we will get an equal, if not greater, turnout this year.””

    However, Chela said this could be a difficult goal due to the timing of the drive.

    “”We’re right in the middle of finals, but I hope the students remember to donate,”” she said.

    Individual colleges will host their own movie nights in order to collect donations for various charities.

    Muir Residential Council will host a “”Donate and a Movie”” night on Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. Revelle College Council will also host a “”Hanu-Kwanzaa Party”” with a movie-and-donate night on Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.

    Spirit at ERC! and Community Outreach Effort, student organizations at Eleanor Roosevelt College, will hold a Canned Film Festival on Dec. 2, sponsor a free barbecue and play a free movie, “”Pirates of the Caribbean.””

    Organizers suggest that students attending the festival bring a donation. Suggestions include new toys, clothes, canned goods or money.

    “”The donations will be going to a San Diego family of a single mother and her eight children ranging from ages two to 15 that we contacted through the Volunteer Connection,”” said Courtney Cross, chair of the Council of Organizations for Student Council at ERC. “”We are glad that we came up with the opportunity to help out families in need, especially with the damage caused by the fires. We are just looking for a way to do our part to help.””

    The cupcake exchange, sponsored by Alpha Epsilon Delta, will be held on Library Walk on Dec. 11. Organizers will exchange baked goods for toy and clothing donations to be given to underprivileged children and their families in Mexico.

    Alpha Epsilon Delta co-sponsors a free health clinic set up in Ensenada for underpriviledged families that cannot afford health care.

    According to Meghan Garvey, who serves as Alpha Epsilon Delta’s project co-coordinator, a nurse at the clinic in Ensenada asked Alpha Epsilon Delta if they could get toys donated for the children in the clinic that she knew would not be able to afford Christmas presents.

    Alpha Epsilon Delta member Shrey Purohit, a Thurgood Marhall College freshman, came up with the idea and plans to dress up as Santa Claus when the toys are delivered to the children.

    “”We hope to make this an annual Alpha Epsilon Delta event,”” Garvey said. “”We are just hoping to gather any items we could wrap up and give to these families that won’t be getting anything for Christmas.””

    Other organizations will be adopting families for the holidays through the Volunteer Connection.

    For the Thanksgiving season, the UCSD community adopted over 40 families, presenting them with a Thanksgiving dinner they would otherwise not have been able to afford.

    The Volunteer Connection hopes to see a similar turnout for the Christmas season.

    “”The Volunteer Connection has a whole package of volunteer opportunities for students celebrating Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah,”” Marx said. “”Students can go to their office [on the third floor of Price Center] and check out the volunteer events going on off-campus.””

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