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HOLIDAY HELP: For families, food bank and pets

By Dave Jones on November 24, 2015 in University

STEAC HOLIDAY ADOPT-A-FAMILY PROGRAM: Wish lists are being circulated among employees all over the campus as departments and other organizations once again adopt families to help them out with gifts and food. As of Monday (Nov. 23), UC Davis units had adopted 28 families through the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee, or STEAC, of Yolo County.

The nearly 50-year-old organization provides year-round help to Yolo County residents below the poverty line, but restricts its holiday program to Davis residents because of the strong need.

STEAC is helping almost 400 families and individuals this season, volunteer Lynne Rumery said. “We still have another 85 families to go,” she said, noting that some of those families comprise single people. “It’s crunch time — we definitely still need adopters.”

The sign-up deadline is Wednesday, Dec. 2. All donations must be brought to First Baptist Church in Davis, Dec. 8-10.

In the program, needy families provide a wish list and are paired with individuals or groups who agree to fulfill it and provide groceries.

“The university’s just amazing,” Rumery said. “We have so many departments who adopt year after year — and adopt so cheerfully.” Thirty-five Davis campus units adopted families last year.

Rumery said she’s been volunteering for about a dozen years and has never seen families left over at the end of the adoption process. If any are left, STEAC will provide the groceries and gifts itself.

How to adopt a family: Sign up online (new this year) or call, (530) 758-8435.

RUNNING OF THE TURKEYS: Team Physics is back in action for this annual benefit for the Yolo Food Bank. The team welcomes runners (or walkers) and donations.

The five-kilometer run-walk starts at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day in downtown Woodland. You can register as an individual or you can join Team Physics, organized by Professors Lloyd Knox and Richard Scalettar.

The professors have set a fundraising goal of $4,000, and they are matching all contributions, dollar for dollar, up to the fundraising goal. Contributions include team members’ registration fees, as well as donations made through this crowdfunding site.

“As teachers, Richard and I care deeply about the development of young minds.” Knox said. “We are saddened that so many children in Yolo County do not get all the food they need to perform at their best. We are heartened that the Yolo Food Bank exists so that our money, and our friends’ and colleagues' money, can help to meet those needs.”

Knox reminded that the food bank can turn every dollar into more than two meals, so, if Team Physics reaches its goal, that $4,000 will equate to more than 8,000 meals.

GIFT BASKETS FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE’S PETS: UC Davis staff members and others behind this effort are making their annual appeal for monetary donations.

The program, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, benefits cats and dogs at the Mercer Clinic in Sacramento. The clinic for the pets of homless people is independent of UC Davis, although faculty, staff and students are heavily involved, all as volunteers.

Likewise, the people who run the gift basket program are all volunteers — staff members and others associated with the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. This year they hope to provide 130 holiday-wrapped gift boxes with pet toys, treats, food and brushes, and 200 sweaters and 200 coats to help pets survive the winter weather.

“With El Nino expected to bring more rain to our region this winter, it is especially important that we provide the coats and sweaters as well as the holiday basket supplies for these companion animals,” said Eileen Samitz, a recently retired veterinary hospital staffer who coordinates the holiday basket program. “The coats and sweaters are particularly important for smaller and older pets, which are more sensitive to the cold weather that is a such a difficult part of wintertime life on the streets.”

Monetary donations are tax-deductible and can be made in two ways:


By check payable to UC Regents-Mercer Holiday Pet Baskets and mailed to the School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis 95617-1167, attention: Mercer monetary donations are tax-deductible.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,