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Press Release

Cal Poly Community Supports Students, Local Residents in Need this Holiday Season

Contact: Cynthia Lambert


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Recent gift drives and donation efforts on Cal Poly’s campus have raised thousands of dollars, more than 150 pounds of food and personal items, and more than 180 gifts to support Cal Poly students and community members.


At a holiday reception on Dec. 1 in the Rossi Grand Lobby of the Performing Arts Center, campus employees supported Cal Poly’s Basic Needs programs, which seek to ensure that all students have access to the resources needed to focus on their education and success. Employees donated 154 pounds of nonperishable food and personal hygiene items, as well as $70 worth of grocery gift cards, said Kari Howell, Basic Needs coordinator in Campus Health and Wellbeing.

Donated items for gift drive

Additional online donations were made to support Cal Poly Cares, the Food Pantry, and Health and Counseling Services. (The amount raised will be available in January.) Still others supported the Food Pantry by purchasing from its Amazon Wishlist of frequently requested items.


“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Cal Poly community donating to the basic needs support programs like the Food Pantry, Cal Poly Cares, and Counseling Services,” Howell said. 


Donations to the Food Pantry, which receives an average of 200 visits a day, provide support and nourishment for students of all backgrounds. (The pantry is also open to staff and faculty on Fridays.)


“We know that individuals who donate to the food pantry are going to be more likely to refer students to this critical food resource on campus,” Howell said. “That is the ongoing impact we foster in basic needs. Together, we’re breaking down barriers and normalizing resource-seeking for students.”


Earlier in the week, on Giving Tuesday, Campus Dining opened a donation shop on the Grubhub app. Students and staff donated $3,500 to the Mustang Meal Share program, which provides food vouchers for those in need of a hot meal on campus.


“This was such a great turnout and will certainly help the students who need it most,” said Campus Dining Director Jess Dozier. “Food insecurity is a very real thing on campus, and Campus Dining is helping to support where we can.”


Donated items for gift drive
Employees dropped off donations at the Dec. 1 holiday reception at the PAC, including nonperishable food items and personal hygiene products.


Local families will also benefit this season from the university community’s generosity. Cal Poly’s Center for Service in Action, which connects students with meaningful community service opportunities, hosted its annual Mustang Holiday Gift Drive in partnership with the  San Luis Obispo County Department of Social Services  and the  Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo


The drive aims to fulfill gift requests from local children and teens that usually range from $30-$40 each. Each gift is specifically requested by one of the two agencies, said Bradley Kyker, assistant director of the Center for Service in Action. Donors picked up a tag at one of several designated giving towers around campus.


Cal Poly community members donated 163 gifts and $725 to this year’s drive. The funds will be used to fulfill approximately 23 more gift requests, bringing total gifts fulfilled to 186.


“Each gift that was donated was specifically requested by a child,” Kyker said. “Thus, each donation will be used and appreciated and therefore is more meaningful to both donor and recipient.”

Donated items piled in the Center for Service in Action
Gifts for local children and teens are piled up in the Center for Service in Action’s office, ready to be picked up by the partner agencies.