Education / Schools

Gavilan communication class aces fundraising drive despite COVID-19 challenges

Students donate proceeds to Community FoodBank.

Raising $750 is no small feat, especially when individuals and businesses are struggling financially during a pandemic. That’s what 22 Gavilan students pulled off after four weeks of their random acts of kindness campaign, an assignment which ended on Dec. 9. Proceeds were donated to the Community Foodbank of San Benito County.

Instructor Adrian Andrade said on the last day of the small groups communication class, conducted on Zoom, that while the goal of the assignment was to raise money, it was also about students being mindful of what’s going on around them.

Though the assignment has been part of Andrade’s syllabus for five years, this year was different as students relied mostly on digital outreach rather than yard or bake sales

“I almost gave up on the project and I didn’t know how we could take it to the digital world,” Andrade said. 

While this class pushed to complete the assignment, Andrade’s spring semester class was unable to do it because of COVID-19. Andrade told BenitoLink he “hit the floor” after learning how much the students raised. He said he expected about $200. 

“Proud of what you did and how it turned out,” he told his students. 

Andrade said students were put into small groups. Roles such as a publicist, accountant and photojournalist were then assigned among the members. 

Melisa McGinnis, member of The Hunger Force group, said the group supplemented its social media effort with baking sales. She said members took baked goods to work and put them out in their respective break rooms. 

“It was an amazing experience,” McGinnis said. “Even in the pandemic we are still a community even if we are in Morgan Hill, Gilroy or Hollister.”

Community Foodbank of San Benito CEO Nancy Frusetta said the group’s donation and effort was significant as the numbers of residents who depend on the pantry’s services continues to increase. 

“By you giving I hope you have gotten something back as well,” Frusetta told the students. 

Sarah Nordwick, community outreach and development coordinator for the food bank, said the donation will provide hundreds of meals.

“A dollar provides one meal so $750 is a lot,” Nordwick said during the class presentation. “The time you took to come up with logos, names, talking to people, that’s what makes this a community. We aren’t a community food bank without you guys.”

Nordwick told BenitoLink the Community FoodBank serves around 6,000 people a month, but estimates the number is three times higher now due to the pandemic. She also clarified that a dollar can feed about four people.

“Essentially in our county, one in four people are food insecure,” she said. 

Norwick told the students the donation not only provides meals for residents in need, but also a spark of motivation and morale to staff who sometimes feel they might not be doing enough.

“I want you to know the impact you are making,” she said.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.