California State University, Northridge’s Unified We Serve program collected more than 6,400 items to donate to needy San Fernando Valley residents. The items—canned and boxed food, clothing, toys and books—were donated by dozens of faculty, staff and students.
“This university was so instrumental in coming together as one unit—faculty, staff, students, clubs, organizations and the like—to really make a huge impact on the lives of those people who may not be as fortunate to have the luxuries that we have,” said Justin Weiss, coordinator of Unified We Serve. “The fact that they would come together as a university to donate clothing, food, toys and books really shows what can happen when one campus comes together as a community to help the larger community.”
Unified We Serve, a campus volunteer program, collected the items during a one-week drive during the fourth annual campuswide event. Typically, Weis said, the organization holds the drive over a longer period of time and collects more items, but this year they decided to shorten the timeframe. The event culminated on Nov. 14 with a display of the donations on the steps of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library.
“This year’s campus clothing and food drive brought forth so many volunteers and contributors to the cause,” said Talar Alexanian, events assistant for Unified We Serve. “I am pleased to say that when you speak about this drive to individuals on campus, it is a known event.”
Awards and recognition were given to individuals, clubs and organizations and dorms that made the largest donations. The student award was given to senior Hanna Khalifa who collected about 300 items; the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity donated more than 1,000 items; the Health Administration Student Association donated 600 items; and dorm building No. 4 donated 200 items.
“It’s always a challenge to help those in need within the community, and it really does ‘take a village,’” said Richard Weinroth, director of MEND (Meeting Each Need with Dignity) food bank, adding he is grateful to CSUN for all its support.
“We couldn’t possibly do what we do without the help of thousands of volunteers and donors who feel that these community-based solutions are on the front lines of the fight to alleviate the effects of poverty,” Weinroth said. He said CSUN’s donation will enable the organization to help 1,400 families, or nearly 7,000 people, for the holidays.
For more information about student volunteer service at CSUN, visit Unified We Serve.