Toros band together to help out students in needcsudhbulletin November 15, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Basic Needs Coordinator Morgan Kirk prepares food bags as the Food Distribution event and pop-up thrift opens in Parking Lot 1 on Nov. 12. Photo By Carlos Martinez.
By Carlos Martinez, Web Editor
With winter nearing and California now surpassing 1 million coronavirus cases, California State University, Dominguez Hills students are feeling the financial burden the pandemic has created by starting a pop-up thrift store for students.
To provide support for students in need, the Basic Needs Program and the Office of Sustainability collaborated to host the first pop-up thrift event along with food distribution on Nov. 12 in Parking Lot 1.
During the event, students were able to pick up articles of clothing that were requested through an online survey distributed by Basic Needs in eco-friendly tote bags. Once students were given their requested clothing, they were to follow along with a route that leads to the food distribution area where they can receive a bag of food and produce provided by the CSUDH farmer’s market.
Scarlett Zamora, a 2020 alumna, and David Saldańa, a senior geography major, are active volunteers for the office and enjoy helping both the campus and people during this difficult semester.
“The turnout was more than expected,” Zamora said. “We got a total of 36 students who asked for a coat….and that was only in a week.”
She added that the Office of Sustainability has been utilizing social media more often to promote environmentally friendly events to students in a challenging year.
“It shows that people right now are paying attention to the services offered [this semester],” Saldaña said. “These are ways to help with our Toro family.”
“We’re here for the students and it’s run by the students,” Zamora added.
According to Ellie Perry, sustainability manager from the Office of Sustainability, even though the event is a first of its kind, it’s not the first time both the office and program collaborated.
The Office of Sustainability prepared requested clothing in eco-friendly tote bags and tags for students when they arrive at the event. Photo by Carlos Martinez.
“Over the last two years, we’ve been partnering with Basic Needs…to connect our sustainability efforts with supporting our in-need students,” Perry said. “We had been discussing a way to extend these efforts to non-food items by focusing on upcycling, DIY crafting, and thrifting which saves the planet but also could help our students save money as well.”
To prepare for the event, the Office of Sustainability began collecting coats, which Basic Needs indicated as a high-needed item, throughout October via mail drop boxes located in the loading dock of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics building. In the end, the campus community ended up with over 100 coat donations.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Basic Needs program saw an influx of students registering for the food distribution events online; hosting two events each month. As it’s getting closer to the holiday season, the events went down to once a month as the need dwindled a bit.
Approximately 102 students in campus housing are encouraged to utilize the events as the campus is a “food desert,” grocery stores are estimated to be more than 10 minutes away.
Teresa Burch, a senior Psychology major, volunteers her time with Basic Needs as the program and its coordinator Morgan Kirk helped her navigate resources when she was struggling with basic needs.
“I know what it’s like to be suffering from food insecurity and having no housing,” Burch said. “It’s a way for me to give back for what our campus has done for me.”
Burch also mentioned social media pages of other departments and resources such as CalFresh and the Toro Guardian Scholars helping with spreading awareness of the services Basic Needs and Office and Sustainability provides.
Giselle Corral, CSUDH alum, delivers bagged food to a student’s car during the drive-thru event. Photo by Carlos Martinez.
Giselle Corral, a 2020 alumna, was part of the Toro Guardian Scholars, a program that works closely with Basic Needs. She was asked to help with an event by Basic Needs and has volunteered with the program ever since.
“We’re about giving something they need,” Corral said. “Typically we tend to have leftovers so we make sure that the food is properly distributed to the community such as donating to shelters.”
Mia Leccese, a junior Kinesiology major, is a part of the Presidential Scholars and was offered to do community service with Basic Needs, working with them since after enjoying having the opportunity to help students.
“These events are a no-judgment zone,” Leccese said when asked about how to encourage students into taking advantage of the services. “We’re all here making sure we get through this together.”