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Cal State Students Donate to South LA Elementary School

Cal State LA students gathered thousands of donations for elementary students in South Central.

Students studying fire administration at Cal State Los Angeles delivered over a thousand backpacks stuffed with toys, games, books and non-perishable food items to students at Normandie Elementary in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon.

"It means a lot," Normandie Elementary Principal Gustavo Ortiz said. "It's the first time that I've seen a group of young people, future firefighters, come into our school and actually deliver toys and books... it reminds me that there are good people out there."

Courtesy of ATVN
Courtesy of ATVN

Many students attending the elementary school do not have access to books or toys, and some students are homeless or in foster care, Ortiz said.

Anthropology professor Jessica Bodoh-Creed organized the delivery and created the service project to create a sense of empathy among her students.

In addition to Principal Ortiz, two student council representatives and a Girl Scout troop were on site to receive the donations.

Bodoh-Creed recruited her anthropology students and members of an on-campus service based fraternity to help gather donations.

Students traveled across Los Angeles to find people willing to donate to the cause.

"I basically gathered books from Hollywood, Los Angeles, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Arcadia..." CSULA student Angelo Lopez said. "I made deals with people in those neighborhoods. I went on Craigslist and a lot of those people were willing to give up books but they wanted a service."

Lopez painted houses and did yardwork in exchange for used books and other donations for students at Normandie Elementary.

"They were happy to give the books and I was happy to do anything to get them," Lopez said.

What started out as a small, community project turned into an enormous effort by hundreds of students at CSULA.

About 200 students worked to gather over 1,000 toys, 400 school supplies and 800 books that were given directly to the students, Bodoh-Creed said.

"I really enjoyed working with the school," Bodoh-Creed said. "This school has a lot of need and if this is something that I can do [to help] then I'd love to keep doing it."

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