Lend a Hand, or Give Anything You Can

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Rosio Flores, Staff Reporter

The holidays are near and the spirit of giving is here. 

Educational Participation in the Communities’ (EPIC) 48th Annual Toy and Food Drive is currently underway. For the past 47 years, this campus-wide event has donated toys and food to those in need. 

EPIC, Cal State LA’s community service program, has managed the event by revolving it around its three main objectives. The first is to provide toys and food to low-income families during the holiday season. The second is to give the overall campus community a chance to positively contribute to its community. Finally, the third objective is to allow students to be placed in an environment where they can utilize their classroom theory with real-life experiences.

According to Anh Hong, EPIC’s community partnerships coordinator, last year’s drive provided boxes of toys and food to 113 families. “The goal [this year] is to help 120 families, but it would depend on the donations that we get,” stated Hong.

These goals are met because of the students, staff and faculty who team up to collect toys and food.

Over the years, participation has grown with the help of campus offices and departments. Last year 86 offices, 399 volunteers and 17 agencies contributed to the drive.

These donations are distributed to selected families who are served by the agencies EPIC works with. Among the 20 agencies, EPIC will be serving this year at El Sereno Senior Center, Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School and the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. Student volunteers also work with these agencies throughout the year. 

Asian, African-American, Latino and Native-American communities are among the ones who are served. EPIC is also committed to serving students. Cal State LA’s own food pantry will receive some of the donated boxes as well.

The anticipated outcome of the event is to present a much-needed service, but also to inject a feeling of the importance of community service, Hong added.

According to the Center for Engagement, Service, and Public Good’s website, donations should include new toys and non-perishable or canned foods. Goods must be donated by Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Items can be dropped off at any holiday box placed around campus. Some of the dropoff locations include Starbucks, the Television, Film, and Media Center, the College of Natural and Social Sciences located in King Hall room D-1050, the Honors College located in King Hall room D145, and the Library North.

If you are interested in volunteering, EPIC can be contacted at (323) 434-3380.