This Valentine’s Day, the UCSB community can both treat its sweet-tooth – or sweetheart – and support local charities by purchasing See’s milk chocolate candy bars.
As part of the Santa Barbara County’s United Way annual campaign, UCSB faculty and staff can order See’s Candy Grams with a personalized message online at www.ia.ucsb.edu/uw until Feb. 3 for $2 each. In addition, there will be 200 to 300 candy grams available for students to purchase outside the UCen Room for the same price Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Steve Ortiz, Santa Barbara County’s United Way development manager, said the annual campaign, which runs until Feb. 28, began in 1995 and continues to fund various service programs for local children, families and seniors every year.
Half of the proceeds, Ortiz said, will go toward already existing programs, such as the YMCA. The rest of the money will be used for unique United Way initiatives such as the Fun in the Sun program, which offers year-round services, such as tutoring, to homeless and impoverished children, teens and families.
Ortiz said he hopes to increase campus participation in the program this year. Last year, candy grams earned $6,000 for the annual campaign, which brought in a total of $110,000. This year’s campaign goal, however, is $115,000, meaning that campus contributions will need to step up to meet the new objective.
Sandy Morris, co-chair of the annual campaign, said organizers hope to see about 500 people participate. Ortiz said gaining such additional support would help the charity exponentially.
“In past years we have only reached 10 percent of the campus,” Ortiz, UCSB budget financial analyst, said. “Imagine the possibilities if we can get the whole campus involved.”
Larry Parsons, co-chair for the campaign and director of Environmental Heath & Saftey, said faculty and staff may become slightly competitive over the sales.
“[It’s] almost a contest to see how many candy grams will be sitting on your desk on Valentine’s Day,” Parsons said.
In addition to helping the community, Morris said the Candy Grams are also a great way to thank people on campus.
“It’s a good way to thank co-workers,” Morris said. “Just think about the people on campus you’d like to recognize. It gives them a lift to their day.”