Students “Take 15,” Volunteer to Make Sandwiches for Thanksgiving

By: Diego Huaman

The day before many students left for Thanksgiving break, the Cross-Cultural Center welcomed volunteers to take approximately 15 minutes of their time to aid those who would remain hungry or homeless over the holiday.

On Tuesday, the second annual “Take 15” event was held at noon in the Ring Room, with students making sandwiches that would be delivered to communities in need.

“We sometimes forget to realize that there is a large proportion of hungry and homeless in the Orange County area. We thought it was important for students to understand that many people in our community do not know where their next meal will come from,” said Stephanie Fernandez, an intern who helped organize the event.

“Take 15” was a project originally conceived from the collective sponsorship of the CCC and the UCI Dalai Lama Endowed Scholarship program, in which students are selected to receive funds based on their proposals, which must promote values of compassion, contemplation, courage, interconnectedness, collaboration, humility and service.

Last year’s event resulted in the preparation of over 500 sandwiches.

“Last year was a great success. We even had to call for more reinforcements,” said Darlene Esparza, assistant director of the CCC. “We needed to get more food and more bread.”

The program was made possible through the collaborative effort and sponsorship of the CCC’s Community Action Series, Student Affairs, UCI Dalai Lama Scholars program, 50 for 50 Volunteer Program, UCI Hospitality & Dining and the Center for Living Peace.

This year, “Take 15” received additional support from the Center for Living Peace, a non-profit organization that provided funding for necessary materials. UCI Hospitality & Dining donated more than half the food that was needed for the event, as well as the 50 for 50 Volunteer Program.

50 for 50 encourages faculty, staff and students on campus to commit to 50 hours of service in honor and celebration of the 50th anniversary of UCI’s establishment.

150 people lent their service to make approximately 600 sandwiches. The event concluded when they ran out of bread.

Among the organizations that participated in the event were the Social Science Academic Mentorship Program and Pi Kappa Phi. The sandwiches were all donated to the Illumination Foundation to feed Orange County’s hungry and homeless.

“The feedback was very positive from students, faculty and staff. There were a lot of people excited to be able to be to help and give back,” Esparza said.

Caroline Truong, a CCC intern who took pictures at the event, said, “I attended the event not only to support the CCC but also to take a step back and contribute to the community.”

“I think we all need to start doing the little things that make a difference. I was happy to see that even before the event started there were already a lot of people lined up, ready to make sandwiches,” said volunteer Leticia Cruz.

“The holidays give us an opportunity to be thankful for everything we do have and give back to those who are not as lucky,” said Fernandez. “It was important to let students know that there is always an opportunity to make a difference in our community.”