Hundreds of families in the San Fernando Valley will have sufficient food and warm clothes for the holiday season, thanks to California State University, Northridge’s Unified We Serve program, which collected more than 3,400 items this month for local residents in need.
The items — which included boxed and canned food, clothes, toys and books — were donated by CSUN students, faculty and staff. All proceeds of the annual drive were given to Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND), a nonprofit organization that aims to break the bonds of poverty by meeting the basic human needs of Valley residents.
“This year’s event was a great success,” said Maria Elizondo, coordinator for Unified We Serve. “The Unified We Serve volunteers were beyond amazing — they all worked very hard the past two weeks to make sure we provided MEND with the much-needed donations.”
Unified We Serve, a student volunteer program, teamed up this year with Matador Athletics to provide less-fortunate families with essential items for the holiday season. Collections began Nov. 1 at the CSUN Women’s Soccer game and concluded Nov. 18 with a display of the donations on the steps of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library.
“[The annual food drive] is great because it’s important to support one another and be active in the community,” said Aby Catalan, Unified We Serve program assistant.
Unified We Serve has collected more than 55,000 donations since 2009, Elizondo said.
“These donations are going to help so many families for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Richard Weinroth, director of MEND’s food bank and executive chef. “It’s so inspiring to see all the canned food on the stairs [of the Oviatt Library] — it’s incredible.”
For more information about student volunteer programs at CSUN, visit Unified We Serve.