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UC Merced gives for the holidays
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The University of California, Merced may be young, but students, staff, and faculty have already learned the value in giving back.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, the Kappa Sigma fraternity canvassed Merced collecting nonperishable food items. More than 2,000 pounds of canned foods were donated to the Merced Food Bank.

“Our group feels that doing a canned food drive is a way to give back to the community that has given us so much,” said student Jeremy Ho, Kappa Sigma public relations representative. “Knowing that the holidays were right around the corner, we decided that it was a great time to give back, especially to families in need during the hard economic times.”

Kappa Sigma was just one of many UC Merced organizations to give back this holiday season.

American Women Making a Difference raised $300 through a yard sale, which was then donated to United Way. Club members went on to help United Way assemble meal baskets in November.

For those students who were unsure how to help, student program Lending a Hand offered a list of ways to contribute to the community and collected nonperishable food items. The group also encouraged students to think about how they spend resources, and challenged them to live a day without modern luxuries.

The Office of Student Life conducted a successful Christmas toy drive for the sixth year in a row.

And the UC Merced Staff Assembly conducted a food drive of their own, gathering more than 385 pounds of canned food for the Merced County Food Bank – a new record for the annual drive.

“Every year this event is even more successful than the last,” said Laura Butler, chair of programs, events and outreach for Staff Assembly. “We couldn’t do it without generous donations from the UC Merced community and the Staff Assembly community service subcommittee and our partnership with the Merced County Food Bank staff and volunteers. We aspire to contribute even more to the Merced community and families in need during holiday seasons to come.”