Students to serve the homeless at local volunteer center

Cal State Fullerton volunteers will prepare food and serve the homeless for a pre-Thanksgiving meal Saturday at Mary’s Kitchen, a volunteer center in Orange that gives aid to the less fortunate almost every day of the year.

These services go through the Volunteer and Service Center at CSUF, which helps students of all majors discover the outlet they want to volunteer for.

“Mary’s Kitchen is an invaluable community resource, especially because of the fact that it uses every resource and makes sure everyone that comes for help is pushed in the right direction,” said Lauren Bailey, a member of the CSUF Volunteer and Service Center.

Other volunteer organizations hosting Thanksgiving volunteer events include Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton. This year, church volunteers are throwing a party in the hopes of receiving thousands of cans for the homeless. In years past, the church has collected hundreds of boxes of food that helped feed families of four.

Laura Quines, a compassion assistant at the Eastside Christian Church’s Compassion department, said some of the people they’re helping are actually living in a home and just in need of basic necessities, while others are actually homeless.

“If Cal State Fullerton students are looking to help the homeless, the best way to do so is through a reputable organization, because there you will find hard-working people who are looking to make changes for a better life,” said Quines.

Mary’s Kitchen has been hosting volunteer services for about 25 years, with around 30 volunteers currently helping the homeless daily. Volunteers believe there will be more of a turnout this year thanks to CSUF public relations and marketing students, who are offering their services as part of a class project, as well as CSUF students who are just looking to help out.

Gloria Seuss, president and CEO of Mary’s Kitchen, said if she could tell a CSUF student one thing about giving to the homeless, it would be to be kind, which doesn’t necessarily mean they need to provide the homeless with money.

“Students aren’t rolling in money either, so I am so surprised at how generous students are,” said Seuss.

Past turnout of homeless people at Mary’s Kitchen around Thanksgiving is approximately 250 to 300 people.

Jessica Barrera, a CSUF volunteer, said when you begin volunteering during the holidays, it fuels you to volunteer year round because helping just one day creates a long-lasting relationship with the homeless.

“You do feel like you’re attached to the community when you volunteer, especially to the homeless people that are going there,” said Barrera.

About Tiffany Johnstone