Giving Tuesday Brightens Rainy Day

  • During Giving Tuesday, organizations like Strength United took in donations, but also promoted the awareness of their causes. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Two barrels of canned food and eight barrels of clothing were collected by Unified We Serve and the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission during Giving Tuesday. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Psychology student Michelle Shirtcliff drops off a food donation for Unified We Serve during Giving Tuesday. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • The American Red Cross took donations in the University Student Union. Here, CTVA student Rose Witmer checks her phone while giving blood. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Volunteers from Unified We Serve, a CSUN-based volunteer organization, collected food donations. Photo by Lee Choo.

Despite record rainfall in the area Dec. 2, the California State University, Northridge campus came together to support the Giving Tuesday initiative.

A nationally celebrated day to “give back” to the community, Giving Tuesday brought students, faculty, staff and community members to the Matadome to donate toys, food and clothing. A block away at the University Student Union, the Red Cross was taking blood donations. On- and off-campus organizations helped coordinate the event. CSUN-affiliated groups Strength United and Unified We Serve came together with the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission to collect the donations.

“Strength United is very happy to have been a part of CSUN’s Giving Tuesday push,” said Ann Conkle, outreach and engagement officer for the organization. “The toys we collected will go a long way to help children we serve over the holiday season. Additionally, a special thank you goes out to the Matador baseball team, who volunteered their time to help us.”

The university athletics department chipped in by providing a location, the west lobby of the Matadome, and the Matador baseball team assisted those collecting donations.

“Unified We Serve was very excited to partner with different departments this year in hosting Giving Tuesday on CSUN’s campus,” said Ani Avetisyan, activities assistant volunteer program and services coordinator for the Matador Involvement Center. “It is always wonderful seeing so many students from different departments come together and devote their time to help those in need! And a special shout-out to the men’s baseball team and student housing for their time and donations.”

The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission collected two barrels of canned goods and eight barrels of clothing. They noted it was a very important drive that helped restock their inventory after a fire in May destroyed their shelter, food and offices.

Tim Bell of the American Red Cross said the drive was “fantastic” and “blew away” his expectations. During the Giving Tuesday window, 46 people registered to donate and the organization collected 41 pints of blood.

“Everyone was so nice,” Bell said. “We had longer than usual wait times due to the larger than expected amount of people showing up — 31 people had made appointments — but nobody complained and were willing to work with us to fit them all in.

“That [blood] could help save up to 123 lives,” he added.