Season of giving gets under way

Whether it's throwing a donation party to collect toys for needy children or filling Second Harvest bags with canned goods, opportunities to give will be abundant on campus this holiday season.

The Student Volunteer Center will set up "giving trees" around campus after Thanksgiving for those wishing to buy presents for local children and families in need. This program will benefit organizations such as New Horizons school for homeless children and the Walnut Avenue Women's Center. The group is also recruiting volunteers to serve on stand-by to buy gifts for those whose names have not been selected. For more information call Nicole Teutschel or Hilary Sisson at (831) 459-3363, or e-mail

Other faculty, staff, and students are participating in Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County's Adopt A Family program. The center selects and provides donors with information about a family, and adopters provide a new toy and article of clothing for each child, gift certificates for food, and a family gift such as blankets, towels, or dishes. For more information, call (831) 427-5075.

Contributors to the Toys for Tots program may drop off unwrapped new toys of any kind at the UCSC fire or police station Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting right after Thanksgiving and going through December 20. The toys will go to local needy children. Donated toys should be in their original packaging. The firefighters suggest throwing a holiday toy-donation party; they can pick up the toys after the party. For more information or toy pickup, contact Troy Souza at (831) 459-3473.

The Christmas Project serves both children and adults. Contributors choose the name of someone from a Santa Cruz County migrant worker family. First names and their gift requests are displayed on a Christmas tree in the Educational Opportunity Programs Office of the Academic Resources Center. "Most of the adults are asking for warm clothes," said Larry Trujillo, executive director of Student Academic Support Services. Gifts must be selected by Friday, December 14. For more information, contact Trujillo at (831) 459-3630.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to donate to the annual Second Harvest Food Bank campaign to help feed people of all ages. Letters and donation envelopes arrived in campus mailboxes last week. Organizers urge donations by November 30, but they'll be taken until campus closure. The goal this year is to collect 75,000 pounds of food and cash-equivalent donations toward a communitywide goal of 1.6 million pounds. Nonperishable foods and cash donations are both welcome. Donations may be sent via Campus Mail. For every dollar donated, Second Harvest is able to distribute more than $9 worth of food. A $10 donation provides a family of four with an average of 50 meals. To have food donation bags dropped off, call (831) 459-4852.