Dec. 14, 2015Vol. 46, Issue 3

Spreading holiday cheer

University Needy Children Program celebrates 25 years

It’s said that the best presents don’t come under the tree, and it was clear that the dozens of staff and faculty volunteers who attended the University Needy Children Program’s (UNCP) 25th anniversary celebration December 9 would agree.

During the event, held at the University Farm Pavillion, campus community members dropped off last-minute gifts, exchanged holiday cheer, and reflected on the program that has been run by Staff Council since 1990. In partnership with the Children’s Services Division of Butte County’s Department of Employment and Social Services, the UNCP supports local families in need by providing toys, clothes, grocery gift cards, and other essentials each holiday season.

Sixty-five campus departments supported 76 families and 147 children this year. Among the staff members who participated was Lisa Saldano, administrative assistant with the University Police Department. As she filled a table with gifts purchased by donations from her department, Saldano said it is her own experience that has motivated her to participate in the program since 2007.

Mitch Cox (center) staff and faculty helped organize presents at a special reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the University’s Needy Children Program.

Mitch Cox (center) staff and faculty helped organize presents at a special reception to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the University’s Needy Children Program.

“Growing up, my family was the recipient of a similar program where we lived,” she said. “We had a large family with a single income and never got new toys or clothes, always used.

“I remember to this day how it felt (to get a new toy),” she said. “As long as I'm able, I'll always want to give back.”

On Thursday last week, the Butte County social workers delivered the gifts and cards to the families whom they had identified as being in need. Besides the gifts, Staff Council raised $4,382 in raffles and other campus donations, which was used to buy grocery gift cards for each family.

Since its inception, the UNCP has supported more than 1,800 families and 4,700 children and given out $90,000 in grocery gift cards, said Service Projects Committee chair Cindy Kelly. The program is not limited to on-campus participants: One of the largest gifts this year came from local furniture retailer Esplanade Furniture, which donated a $750 grocery gift card.

Kelly said the outpouring of campus and community support is inspiring.

“We have such an amazing staff and faculty on campus—they pull together and really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a great way to come together and do something positive.”

More photos of the culminating reception can be seen in the slideshow below.

Art professor J. Pouwels exhibited at 1078 Gallery in Chico, “Interference,” in November.

Achievements

Jerome Pouwels exhibited at 1078 Gallery in Chico in November.  Read More

“Holidays Are Here Again”

Holidays are here again

Student vocalists composed and recorded an original holiday song. Watch the recording.