Holiday food and toy drives are hitting full swing as the season-to-be-jolly draws closer.
The Salvation Army and Starbucks are leading a nationwide toy drive, and the Santa Barbara Food Bank and Clear Channel Communications radio stations are holding a local “Food For Families” canned food drive.
Starbucks will be a drop-off location for the toy drive until Dec. 12, and UPS is going to ship the toys to the Salvation Army where they will then be distributed to needy children throughout Santa Barbara County. Captain Ian Robinson, a Salvation Army administrator, said this is the second year the Salvation Army has worked with Starbucks.
“People should realize that whatever you donate to the community, stays in the community,” he said.
“Food For Families” donations can be dropped off at any Blenders in the Grass, Mesa Communications, Wherehouse Music, One Hour Martinizing, Mid-State Bank or at any Clear Channel Communications radio station until Dec. 23.
On campus, volunteers from the Office of Budget and Planning, the Accounting Office and the Student Health Center will donate toys and gifts to 60 preschoolers and 70 elementary school children in Isla Vista, I.V. Youth Projects Associate Director Kimberly Prendergast said.
The Asst. Chancellor for the Office of Budget and Planning Bob Kuntz said buying gifts for the kids of Isla Vista is all part of the Christmas spirit.
“We have been doing this for about 10 years,” Kuntz said. “Each of the offices does their portion of it and everything is brought together and taken to Isla Vista. It’s a fun way for us to help our neighbors in Isla Vista.”
Participating offices receive a list of children from the I.V. Youth Projects listing the name, age and items the child would like for Christmas. Volunteers within the offices choose the gifts and wrap them in discrete packaging before giving them to the children’s parents.
Gathering the gifts and delivering them has been a joy for Accounting Asst. III Veronica Gonzales and others in UCSB’s Accounting Office as they get to see who their recipients were.
“We drive to Isla Vista Youth Projects and deliver them to the director who puts them in a room so that kids won’t see them,” Gonzales said. “During nap time, we get a tour and take pictures of the kids so that we can match a face with a name. That way they can share with others who their little ones were.”
Lin Aubuchon, director of marketing and promotions for Clear Channel Communications, said the success of these drives depends on the Santa Barbara community.
“Around the holiday season, it is natural to be thinking about others. Expectations [for the drive] are tough to make because it really depends on the community. What we can do is to let people know how and where they can go to help,” she said. “We live in such a great town, and it would be really amazing if we could take community service to a whole new level during this holiday season.”