Car­dozo School Club Col­lects Dona­tions For Child Refugees

Riverbank News - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIR­GINIA STILL vstill@oak­dale­leader.com

The Cal­i­for­nia Ju­nior Schol­ar­ship Fed­er­a­tion (CJSF) club or­ga­nized a col­lec­tion at Car­dozo Mid­dle School for the past three weeks for Op­er­a­tion Refugee Child (ORC).

The en­tire school stepped up dur­ing the three weeks and do­nated items like baby clothes, crayons, bot­tles, back­packs, toys, sham­poo, lo­tion, soap, tooth­paste, tooth- brushes, and ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties.

CJSF Ad­vi­sors Mag­gie Chu­doba and Norma Ramirez helped the CJSF club mem­bers or­ga­nize the col­lec­tion; how­ever, the stu­dents were in charge of the de­tails and specifics of Op­er­a­tion Refugee which they also called Mis­sion of Hope.

Eighth graders An­gel Al­daz and Ro­cio Aguiniga along with sev­enth grader Leopoldo Manzo took the lead on the col­lec­tion project, plac­ing a box in each eighth grade class where stu­dents could drop in what­ever they would like to con­trib­ute.

“We are help­ing the refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, and many other lo­ca­tions be­cause of the on­go­ing war over there and we are try­ing to help those that have left ev­ery­thing be­hind so we are do­nat­ing these things to help them,” said Al­daz. “I was do­ing some re­search about it and they have lost loved ones just cross­ing the wa­ter.”

Along with morn­ing an­nounce­ments about the col­lec­tion ef­forts for the CJSF, some teach­ers of­fered home­work passes and bonus cred­its to en­cour­age stu­dents to do­nate. There were even some class com­pe­ti­tions to en­cour­age dona­tions. Chris­tine Wallen’s sixth grade class won the class com­pe­ti­tion, with the stu­dents to re­ceive ice pops and Wallen will re­ceive a gift card.

“It is about help­ing refugees that don’t re­ally have any­thing and we wanted to help them not just be­cause it will help us later on but be­cause what we have is too much and what they have is not even a lit­tle,” said Manzo. “We have col­lected a lot of ran­dom things.”

The list of items re­quested were hair­brushes, de­odor­ant, lo­tion, baby sham­poo, hand san­i­tizer, baby hats, di­a­pers, toy cars, dolls, hard can­dies, lip balm, plush toys, one­sies, sun­block, mos­quito spray, crayons, coloring books, draw­ing pads, Fris­bee, or any typ­i­cal item for daily use.

“We are ask­ing for reg­u­lar things like tooth­brushes, tooth­paste, clothes, shoes or some­thing to give com­fort like toys to give kids,” Agu-

iniga said.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site, www.op­er­a­tionrefugeechild.org, their mis­sion is to dis­trib­ute back­packs with ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties to bring com­fort, health, safety and warmth to refugee chil­dren and fam­i­lies who have left ev­ery­thing be­hind. Through an in­ter­na­tional net­work of vol­un­teers and lo­cal NGOs in the US, Mid­dle East and Europe, they assem­ble and dis­trib­ute back­packs to refugee chil­dren and fam­i­lies flee­ing vi­o­lence and war. In 2016, ORC will dis­trib­ute ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties and at least 10,000 back­packs to refugee chil­dren.

“The or­ga­ni­za­tion is fab- ulous,” added Chu­doba. “They are based here in Cal­i­for­nia and I thought what a great op­por­tu­nity for our or­ga­ni­za­tion to get in­volved with.”

With a ware­house in Orange County the ORC re­ceives all kinds of dona­tions and they place them in back­packs based on gen­der and for a mom and a baby. The vol­un­teers will travel to areas like Greece and Turkey, visit a camp and hand de­liver the back­packs to the refugees.

“I am speech­less at how much the school and the par­ents and the stu­dents con­trib­uted to the cause,” said Chu­doba. “There were par­ents that brought in bags of brand new clothes from Kohl’s, to do­nate. I still have par­ents com­ing up to me ask­ing if they can still bring in items.

“I say ab­so­lutely bring in the items when­ever you can.”

The items col­lected will not be shipped off im­me­di­ately. Although the stu­dents only held the col­lec­tion for the past three weeks there are dona­tions ac­cepted year round on the ORC web­site.

“They even have an Ama­zon ac­count that you can go ahead and just pur­chase things and it will get di­rectly mailed to them,” said Chu­doba.

“I think you should do­nate be­cause you don’t need ev­ery­thing in your house,” added Al­daz. “And some things you don’t use any­more so you might as well give it away to some­one that will use it.”

VIR­GINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Cal­i­for­nia Ju­nior Schol­ar­ship Fed­er­a­tion (CJSF) class at Car­dozo Mid­dle School re­cently ran a three week cam­paign col­lect­ing items for Mis­sion of Hope, also known as Op­er­a­tion Refugee Child.

VIR­GINIA STILL/THE NEWS

Ro­cio Aguiniga, left, An­gel Al­daz, and Leopoldo Manzo help lead the charge to col­lect as many items for refugees around the globe as pos­si­ble at Car­dozo Mid­dle School dur­ing the past three weeks.

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