HOLIDAY HELPING: Collecting for Kids and Pets

Volunteers present holiuday gift bags to two dogs.
Volunteers present holiday gift bags to a pair of dogs at Loaves & Fishes last December.

Quick Summary

  • Mail Services collection for Toys for Tots, Nov. 29 to Dec. 10
  • UC Davis Children’s Hospital launches virtual holiday toy drive
  • Mercer Clinic elves deliver treats to the pets of unhoused people
  • Stuff the Bus: Unitrans, Davis Food Co-op seek aid for The Pantry

As November turns to December, UC Davis-affiliated organizations are mounting their annual holiday drives for toys for the children of Yolo County and patients of UC Davis Childrens Hospital, and one for the benefit of Mercer Clinic pets (dog and cat companions of unhoused people).

Yolo County Toys for Tots

Mail Services is at it again, picking up donations. First it was for Supply Chain Managements 16th annual Holiday Food Drive, which ended earlier this month, and now it’s for the annual Toys for Tots Drive, starting Monday (Nov. 29) and continuing through Friday, Dec. 10.

The toy drive, held in conjunction with the Marine Corps Reserve, benefits Yolo County children (up to age 14). The organizers said all toys should be new and unwrapped.

Donations can be left with outgoing mail or in one of the blue collection bins around campus.

For more information, send an email to Mail Services.

Children’s Hospital virtual toy drive

UC Davis Children’s Hospital launched its annual toy drive today (Nov. 23), keeping it virtual as a health precaution during the pandemic.

“Donors can help kids from the comfort of home by either shopping for a specific item on our wish list or contributing toward gift purchases,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “Supporting our patients virtually is easy, convenient and helps keep the community and our kiddos healthy.”

The hospital aims to ensure every patient receives a gift this holiday season. Additional items are used throughout the year to stock hospital playrooms, and for patients’ birthdays and other celebrations and milestones.

The Virtual Holiday Toy Drive started today (Nov. 23) and runs through Dec. 24. Donations are welcome online or by check, or you can purchase any of the gifts that are listed on the hospital’s wish list on Amazon.

Look for all the details and links on the Virtual Holiday Toy Drive webpage.

Holiday Pet Baskets

Volunteer elves who share an affiliation past or present with the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are preparing once again for their annual distribution of holiday gift bags at the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless — and seeking donations to keep the now 27-year-old project going.

The Mercer Clinic is another volunteer operation with a UC Davis connection. Located on the grounds of the charity organization Loaves & Fishes in Sacramento, it is run by students and veterinarians from the School of Veterinary Medicine, and preveterinary undergraduates.

The “Holiday Pet Baskets” project dates back to 1995, when the volunteers distributed food and treats in baskets (or boxes). The effort has since grown to include the Winter Coat and Sweater Program. And the gifts are presented now in bags carrying the Mercer Clinic logo.

The elves welcome monetary donations online ( or by check made payable to “UC Regents-Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets” and mailed to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 1167, Davis 95617-1167 (Attention: Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets).

For more information, contact Eileen Samitz by phone, 530-756-5165, or email:

Learn more about the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless.

Stuff the Bus

Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op will hold their annual Stuff the Bus from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, in the parking lot at the co-op, 620 G St. Donations of food and other goods will go to the student-run Pantry, a unit of the Associated Students of UC Davis, which aims to ensure students in need don’t miss a meal or go without other basic necessities while trying to stay in school.

The bus will be one of Unitrans’ vintage double-deckers, with children and adults alike invited to climb to the top floor! If you are one of the first 50 people to donate a bag of food, you will receive a free, 10-ride ticket for Unitrans.

The organizers are asking for canned soups, canned ready-to-eat meals, healthy snacks, gluten-free foods, peanut butter and jams, fruit juice, baby formula and any nonperishable foods, as well as toiletries and hygiene products. For donors’ convenience, the Davis Food Co-op will offer prepacked bags of groceries and other items — bags you can buy at the checkout stands, and staff will deliver the bags to the bus.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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