Spirit of Holiday Giving Abounds on Campus

The end of the fall semester is approaching, with students and faculty members busily preparing for finals. But hectic schedules, made even more so by holiday and family commitments, haven't kept some on campus from finding time for charitable endeavors.

The Hunger Network Club is one such group of students. Led by faculty advisor Tamara Sniezek, the club is in the middle of its annual holiday canned food drive.

Through Dec. 5, the club is collecting canned food and other non-perishables in collection boxes housed in some departments on campus along with busy locations like the library, the Mary Stuart Rogers Educational Services Gateway and the main campus dining hall. The food is then donated to the United Samaritans Foundation in Turlock, which includes them in food boxes for low-income families.

The Hunger Network Club, established in 1983, is among the longest-running clubs at CSU Stanislaus. Sniezek said the club typically receives 3,000 to 4,000 cans of food during its annual drive, which is in its 29th year, and club members are often among the most charitable.

"I find Hunger Network Club members are some of the kindest, warmest and most generous students on campus," Sniezek said. "I am continually amazed that despite their time-consuming studies, jobs and families, they find time to give to others. And even though many of our members do not have a lot of income, they give what little extra money they have to feed the hungry."

Several other groups at CSU Stanislaus are also getting into the holiday spirit.

• The CSU Stanislaus Office of Service Learning, Staff Council and a number of student clubs and university organizations are supporting the efforts of Turlock Together — a group of local ministries, nonprofits, schools, charitable groups and service clubs — to collect 20,000 toys for children in need in the community.

Donations of new, unwrapped toys for children up to 12 years of age can be placed in blue barrels located throughout campus. Barrel locations are: MSR 180; the Tutoring Center in the library; Naraghi Hall, Room 164; Demergasso-Bava Hall, Room 202; the Student Recreation Center lobby; Bizzini Hall, Room 125; and the housing game room.

• The Sociology Club is conducting its sixth annual “Christmas in a Shoebox” effort, in which club members collect Christmas presents for needy children. Donations consist of whatever the donor can fit into a shoebox. The club typically collects around 400 shoebox gifts each year and already has 347 this year, according to Professor Cathy Wong, the club's faculty adviser.

This year, the club's efforts will benefit the Turlock Gospel Mission’s Homeless Assistance Ministry, schoolchildren at Osborn and Wakefield elementary schools, the Turlock Children's Crisis Center and Haven Women's Center. Donations should be submitted by Dec. 7 and can be presented to club members in the Bizzini Hall lobby from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. all week or to the Sociology Department office in Room 213.

• The Troops to College Stanislaus Committee will collect gift donations for troops at the campus' Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5 in the main dining hall. Donations of food and snacks, personal hygiene products and other items will be accepted, and all donations should be new and in their original packaging. Cash donations to assist with shipping costs will also be accepted.

Suggested donations include beef jerky, trail mix, chex mix, crackers, hand sanitizer, hand warmers, sunblock, shampoo, mouthwash, white or black socks, sunglasses, handheld games, puzzle and word game books, disposable cameras, small flashlights, AT&T phone cards, and CDs and DVDs. For information, contact Mami Trussell at 667-3964.

• Donations of time are also welcome. The Office of Service Learning is also looking for volunteers for the Salvation Army toy drive on Dec. 8 at Walmart, 2111 Fulkerth Road, in Turlock. For information, call 667-3311.

James Leonard