Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Spartan community hopes to make impact with holiday drives
by Leeta-Rose Ballester Nov 24, 2013 7:11 pm Tags: food drive, KSJS, low income, Santa Clara County, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, toy drive, UPD
Members of the SJSU community are collecting donations for those in need as the days grow shorter and winter holidays draw nearer.
90.5 KSJS radio is collecting food donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank for its ninth year, Ramon Johnson said, an alumni and long-time host for the station.
"Year to year we've done pretty well," Johnson said. "We have the ability, being a radio station, to communicate to the community. Even if they don't participate in our food drive we hope to encourage them to participate in some other food drive.?"
Johnson said KSJS hopes to serve as an example, and he takes the food drive to heart on a very personal level.
"For me this is important," he said. "I know what it's like to be low income and I know what it?'s like to be homeless. I know how much these donations mean to people."
The most important part of holiday drives, Johnson said, is ?being there? and reaching out to others.
"There's so many children in our community, even though we're considered a wealthy community, that go to bed hungry," he said. "You can really make a difference in a family's life. Imagine what it's like to be a parent and not know where your next meal is coming from for your family."
Johnson said collection barrels are located in Hugh Gillis Hall and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
Caitlin Kerk, Second Harvest?'s media representative, said the organization raises half of its annual revenue during the holiday season.
"That?'s when people are thinking about food, the hungry and other people,"Kerk said. "Every little bit helps.?"
Serving both Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, Kerk said Second Harvest provides food to more than 250,000 people each month—one in 10 people in these counties.
"Even people that are working cannot meet their basic needs," she said. "The cost of living is so high."
Kerk said donations are trickling in to meet the organization?s goal of two million pounds of food and 12,000 turkeys.
"Second Harvest operates thanks to the generosity of the community," she said. "Any contributions we get will help us do that. We appreciate the help of San Jose State."
The University Police Department is holding it's 22nd annual toy drive and Sgt. John Laws said many of the toys and grocery store gift cards that are collected will be distributed close to home.
"One of the underserved groups that we have are our own students and staff," Laws said. "We do try to reach out to the students, but many don't notice that this is appropriate to them too."
Laws said in addition to reaching out to Counseling Services, the employee support from Human Resources and the Accessible Education Center, the UPD also connects with Lowell Elementary School and often has repeat families who look forward to the annual event.
"We have a route with a truck and a Santa that goes down Fourth Street, and Fifth Street and Sixth Street, delivering to homes in the neighborhood,"? Laws said. "For those that don't live on the route, we have an operation set up here in the parking garage."
The UPD provided toys and gift cards to about 200 families last year, Laws said, and this year?s delivery day is scheduled for Dec. 14.
"It's always a nice event that makes you feel good," he said. "Sometimes you feel a little sad about just how dire the need is for some of these families."
Scott Livker, community service chairperson for Sigma Alpha Epsilon and junior political science major, said the fraternity is collecting toy donations in partnership with the Marines yearly Toys for Tots.
"Every active member in the fraternity will be bringing a toy for this event, and we have no minimum," Livker said. "We just want to help families and children during the holidays."
Livker said the fraternity has a donation box in the Student Involvement Center located in Clark Hall, but people can also bring an unwrapped toy directly to their house on South 10th Street.
He said he believes this is the first time the fraternity is doing a toy drive, but they would like to do it again.
"Our members are really excited and happy we have done this,"Livker said. "It involves us with the community more and shows that we know how some families struggle during the holidays. We would like to help them out since every child deserves a nice holiday break."
Leeta-Rose Ballester is a Spartan Daily staff writer.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Many hoped to start showing a profit, marked in black ink, on the day after Thanksgiving Day. ____Just like so many of our other holidays, the true purpose behind having a holiday called "Thanksgiving" is being totally obliterated by a tsunami of greed. Meanwhile, more Americans than ever are living in poverty this year and very few people even seem to notice. However, perhaps we should all take time this week to remember the tens of millions of Americans that are going to be deeply suffering this winter. They keep telling us that "the recession is over" and yet poverty continues to spread like an out of control plague. But for most Americans life is still relatively "normal", and so the horrible suffering going on out there doesn't really affect them. __Ted Rudow III, MA ________
Class of 1996