HOLIDAY HELPING: Food, Toys and More

Volunteers Seek Support for Mercer Clinic Pet Baskets

Quick Summary

  • Food drive and Stuff the Bus to help stock the ASUCD Pantry
  • Dinner, silent auction support The Pantry and Aggie Compass
  • Toy drives for Yolo County and UC Davis Children’s Hospital
  • Coats, sweaters for pets of people experiencing homelessness

As the holidays approach, various organizations are asking for the campus community’s help in providing food and other essentials for students, toys for children, and coats and sweaters for dogs and cats.

HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE Mail Services, part of Supply Chain Management, started this drive 17 years ago, making it very, very easy to contribute — just leave nonperishable food items and other essentials with your outgoing mail, and Mail Services personnel will do the rest. They began this year’s collection Nov. 1 and will make their last pickups this Friday (Nov. 18), delivering everything to The 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. See box below for what The Pantry needs.

AggieSurplus, another unit of Supply Chain Management, offered discounts Nov. 3-4 to customers donating to the Holiday Food Drive, and posted this message afterward on the AggieSurplus website: “Thank you to our generous customers for helping us collect close to 200 pounds of donations during the November in-store shopping event.”
Logo: "Night to End Campus Hunger" (circle, with knife and fork in the middle)

NIGHT TO END CAMPUS HUNGER An evening of food, music and a silent auction to benefit The Pantry and the Aggie Compass Basic Needs Center, Thursday, Dec. 1, at the ASUCD Coffee House, where full-time staff will prepare the meal with food donated by CoHo vendors and the Student Farm. Although the dinner will be a buffet, the CoHo will offer a "fine-dining feel" with white linens, china, glassware, table centerpieces and more. The affair will begin at 5 p.m. with appetizers, wine and beer, and the silent auction featuring such items as wine tasting tours, hotel stays and campus goodies. A program will start at 6 p.m. with a keynote address by Janet Reilly, a member of the UC Board of Regents. The buffet will be from 6:20 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased online. Space is limited; reserved seating available with purchase of multiple tickets. Questions about Night to End Campus Hunger? Send them by email.

Drawing of Santa Claus driving a Unitrans bus with "Stuff the Bus" as the destination sign.

STUFF THE BUS — Sixth annual Unitrans Stuff the Bus event, co-sponsored by the Davis Food Co-op and benefiting The Pantry. Look for one of the campus-city transit system’s vintage London double-decker buses in the parking lot of the Davis Food Co-op, 620 G St., from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, waiting to be filled with your donations of food and other essentials. Plan some extra time so you and the kids can climb to the top floor of the bus. Also, the first 50 donors will receive Unitrans passes good for 10 free rides.

See box below for what The Pantry needs. 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.


Abigail Nonnarath, director of The Pantry, provided this updated list today (Nov. 15), starting with high priority items.

  • Toiletries and hygiene products (high priority)
  • Easy grab-and-go snacks (high priority)
  • Canned, ready-to-eat meals
  • Cooking utensils
  • Healthy snacks
  • Gluten-free foods
  • Canned soups
  • Peanut butter
  • Jams
  • Fruit juice
  • Baby formula
  • “Pretty much anything that’s reasonably healthy, we’ll take it!”
  • Monetary donations

Things we’d like to avoid, Nonnarath said: sugary foods and “junk food.”


Graphic: Toys for Tots train logo

TOYS FOR TOTS Mail Services will do the collecting for this drive, too, Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, on behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve, which will distribute the toys to Yolo County children up to age 16. Toys should be new and unwrapped. Leave them with your outgoing mail or place them in any of the blue collection bins around campus.

UC DAVIS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL VIRTUAL TOY DRIVE Contributions support the hospital’s Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Fund, which the staff can draw upon to purchase gifts that match the wishes of children spending the holiday season in the hospital, or who are being treated at the cancer clinic or MIND Institute. “In essence, your support helps bring a smile to a child's face across the medical campus,” the organizers said. Any funds or purchased toys, crafts, books and electronics not used during the holiday season are used throughout the year for hospital festivities (including Easter and other holidays), and also are used to stock playrooms, to engage patients in bedside play, and to help celebrate patients’ milestones. Donors, if they wish, can purchase gifts off the hospital’s Amazon Wish List.

How to donate:

  • Online via the Crowdfund UC Davis website through Dec. 24
  • By check payable to the UC Davis Foundation (with “Toy Drive” on the memo line) and mailed to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, Attention: Health Sciences Development, 4900 Broadway, Suite 1150, Sacramento 95820-1540
  • Amazon Wish List
Small dog in gray knit sweater
Staying warm with a sweater from the Holiday Pet Baskets volunteers.

HOLIDAY PET BASKETS AND WINTER COATS AND SWEATERS Volunteers who share an affiliation past or present with the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are making their annual solicitation of funds to help pay for coats and sweaters and other gifts (toys and treats, for example) for the dog and cat companions of people experiencing homelessness.

The hospital volunteers started the Holiday Pet Baskets project in 1995 to aid the pets of people experiencing homelessness — pets that receive free care at the Mercer Veterinary Clinic, formerly called the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, located on the grounds of the Loaves & Fishes resource center in Sacramento. The 28th annual gift distribution is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10.

The Holiday Pet Basket project sprang into being just a few years after the clinic, which is also an all-volunteer project, staffed by UC Davis veterinary students, UC Davis undergraduates and local veterinarians.

How to donate to Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets (including coats and sweaters):

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

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

The Mercer Veterinary Clinic and its satellite, Davis Pet Advocacy and Wellness, or DPAW, established in 2020 in partnership with the Davis Respite Center, also seek support:

  • Online through this dedicated PayPal link (or use this DPAW-specific PayPal link)
  • By check payable to the Mercer Veterinary Clinic and mailed to Mercer Veterinary Clinic, P.O. Box 297, Davis 95617
  • Contributions are tax-deductible

Media Resources

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

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