ResLife blanket drive brings students together to help children in need


Resident Life and Disney Voluntears partner up to host blanket drive for Oakland Children’s Hospital at SF State April 24, 2017. (Kyler Knox/Xpress)

More than 30 SF State students gathered together in the Towers Conference Center Monday night to help make blankets for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

SF State Reslife partnered with Disney VoluntEARS, a worldwide organization that focuses on supporting children and families who need it most.

Melissa Herold, a Towers resident assistant, works at the Disney store in downtown San Francisco and decided to organize the blanket drive as a way for students to help the less fortunate.

“I think it’s important for students to give back to our local community and help people other than themselves,” Herold said.

“In college I feel like we all tend to get so caught up in work and school and friends,” Herold said. “This is a great way to get grounded and realize we are making blankets for kids who are in the hospital.”

[/media-credit] Blanket drive for Oakland Children’s Hospital at SF State Tower’s on April 24, 2017.

Bethany Larcher, a 19-year-old fashion merchandising major, was among those who came to the event. Students got together in groups to join together two pieces of fleece by tying the cut edges together in double knots to create thicker material with different patterns.

“It was really cool to listen to Disney music with friends, unwind from school work and know that this blanket I’ve made will keep a child warm,” Larcher said.

For more than 25 years, Disney VoluntEARS has organized projects that give back to local communities as part of the Disney Worldwide Outreach Program.

[/media-credit] Students gather at the Towers to make fleece knot-tied blakets that will be donated to the Oakland Children’s Hospital at SF State April 24, 2017.

The Disney store on Stockton Street picks a different Bay Area organization to assist every month.

According to the Disney website, dozens of organizations worldwide are nominated by cast members (Disney store employees) and receive more than $350,000 through employee-managed Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund grants each year.

Jacqualynn Espinoza, fellow resident assistant, also played a part in organizing the event and was surprised by how many students got involved.

The kinesiology major said it can be difficult to get residents to come out and participate in some programs.

“For everybody to show up to such a nice program for such a great cause, is almost kind of better than having them show up for other programs that aren’t as meaningful,” Espinoza said.

According to their website, the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland admits more than 10,000 children per year. There are currently 191 permanent beds filled by youth inflicted with a serious illnesses.

The finished blankets will be taken to the children’s hospital by Disney cast members at the end of the month and given to patients.

“We all have tests and finals, but you know, some people are sick and have worse things going on,” Herold said. “So it’s nice for us to do a little good for others and help those that really need it.”