UCSC community supports local charities even in tough times

Student Volunteer Center volunteers collect donations during last year's Giving Tree Program drive.

UC Santa Cruz staff, faculty, and students, as well as community members, once again showed compassion and generosity during UCSC's 2009 year-end fundraising drive for the United Way of Santa Cruz County, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Student Volunteer Center's Giving Tree Program.

"The generosity of the campus community--in gifts of cash, goods, time, and service--is so impressive," said Donna Murphy, vice chancellor of University Relations. "Through these special campaigns and other service throughout the year, students, faculty, and staff have touched so many lives. It's heartwarming to see that UCSC people really care about the community and those in need, even in the midst of troubling economic times for everyone."

Staff and faculty donated a total of $48,511 to the United Way during the 2009 drive.

"The employees at UCSC continue to be so generous to the United Way, even with all the stresses they have been facing," said Anne Cawley, director of community giving and marketing at United Way of Santa Cruz County.

The campus exceeded its goal in food donations for Second Harvest Food Bank, according to Manny Grijalva, UCSC manager of mail services. The goal was 30,000 pounds; staff and faculty donated 32,709 pounds, or approximately $10,903.

"It was another fine effort from students, faculty, staff, and community members in coming together in this noble effort to feed our hungry neighbors," Grijalva said.

In the third annual Giving Tree donation drive, the Student Volunteer Center collected winter necessities and toys for 61 children supported by the Walnut Avenue Women's Center and 9 children at the Jesus, Mary and Joseph Home. Donations included jackets, sweatshirts, pants, scarves, gloves, shoes, diapers, bath supplies, books, toys, and gift cards.

"The amount of generosity and support from the UCSC community was overwhelming, allowing the Student Volunteer Center to provide gifts to twice as many children as in previous years," said SVC Director Ali O'Grady. "UCSC staff and faculty went above and beyond in their efforts to provide these children in need with winter necessities and toys. The families from both the Walnut Avenue Women's Center and Jesus, Mary and Joseph Home were delighted to receive so many items on their children's holiday wish-lists. "