HOLIDAY HELPING: Full Toy Barrels and a Stuffed Bus

Three man standing behind tables full of toys.
Mail Services personnel, from left, Albert Miller, Matt Preciado and Mike Sandoval, showing off the Toys for Tots collection. (Jen Carmichael/UC Davis)


Toys for Tots

How do you count Toys for Tots success amid reduced operations and fewer people on campus? By counting up 276 donated toys, that’s how, collected by Mail Services on behalf of the Marine Corps Reserve of Yolo County, which runs Toys for Tots for the benefit of Yolo County children.

“Much of the thanks for the campus collection goes to the Police and Fire departments — they donated an overwhelming amount,” said Jen Carmichael, general manager of distribution and logistics for Supply Chain Management.

Mail Services assists the Marine Corps Reserve’s toy drive annually by collecting toys around campus, some left with outgoing mail, some delivered to Mail Services and others deposited in blue collection barrels.

“It is heartwarming to know that even through operations has been challenged by COVID, it hasn’t dampened our desire to be of service to our community,” Carmichael said.

3 people in holiday attire, behind a table, in freont of a red Unitrans vintage London double-decker bus
Bags of groceries fill bus seats.

Stuff the Bus

A vintage London double-decker bus departed the Davis Food Co-op parking lot late Saturday afternoon (Dec. 12) loaded with well over $4,000 worth of donated groceries and other essentials, for delivery to the ASUCD Pantry.

This was the haul from Unitrans’ fourth annual Stuff the Bus, co-sponsored since 2018 by the Davis Food Co-op.

“We received more than 3,000 items, including a lot of what The Pantry had specifically asked for: soap, shampoo and other hygiene items,” said Jeff Flynn, Unitrans general manager. “Unitrans and the Davis Food Co-op are extremely grateful to all who donated.”

The Pantry assists students in need to ensure they don’t miss a meal or go without other basic necessities while trying to stay in school.

Dog in red coat lies next to holiday gift box.
No doubt a happy pup, lying next to gift box of food, treats and toys.

Holiday Pet Baskets

Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets, given to homeless people for their pets, will soon be distributed for the 26th consecutive year, thanks to volunteer elves who share an affiliation with the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. And the elves have issued their annual fundraising appeal to keep the project going.

It began in 1995, organized by hospital staff members for the benefit of homeless people and their pets who visited the Mercer Clinic for the Pets of the Homeless, another project with UC Davis volunteers: students and veterinarians from the School of Veterinary Medicine, and pre-veterinary undergraduates. The clinic is in Sacramento, on the grounds of the charity organization Loaves & Fishes where the Holiday Pet Baskets are distributed.


    The holiday program still has most of its original volunteers — even those who have retired from the hospital — and newer staff members have joined in.

    The pandemic has limited the volunteers’ ability to gather for basket-decorating, so this year’s goodies will come in bags adorned with the Mercer Clinic logo, according to VMTH retiree Eileen Samitz, who serves as co-coordinator with Becky Griffey, a VMTH employee.

    The distribution will comprise 130 bags in all — 100 for dogs and 30 for cats — holding toys, treats and brushes, typical of what has been given since the first year of the program.

    The distribution also will include pet coats and sweaters — something the elves added to the program in 2012, offering protection from rain and cold when pets are spending winter days and nights outdoors with their people.

    Donations to the Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets and Winter Pet Coat and Sweater Program are tax-deductible and can be made as follows:

    • Online (through the UC Davis Giving website)
    • Check — Payable to “UC Regents-Mercer Clinic Holiday Pet Baskets.” Mail to the 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 co-coordinator Samitz by email or phone, 530-756-5165.

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