Rising Sun canned food drive returns to support local homeless shelters

Rising Sun students pose with donated food items at Naomi's House on Thursday, October 28. Left to right: Marco Macias, Jaqueline Delgado and Dylan Moua. Back row: Rising Sun Paraprofessional Janice Kramer.

Rising Sun Farm and Garden is hosting a canned food drive, gathering food for the HOST House and Naomi House. Donations will be accepted from November 1 to November 19, and they can be dropped off at the District office on Keystone Boulevard.

Raquel DonBatalla, who is leading the drive, explained the purpose behind it. “It provides an opportunity for my students to learn about how they can volunteer in the community.”

Rising Sun is a program for disabled adults between 18 and 22 run by the school district. As DonBatalla explained, “They come here and they learn vocational skills, independent living skills, social skills, things like that.”

The food drive is only one of the community services Rising Sun does. Previously, they held a Weekend Wellness program where the organization donated food to Patterson families in need.

The drive has already seen early involvement, with the program students, the District office, Creekside Middle School, and the high schools contributing. By the second day of the food drive, Rising Sun had already made a delivery of canned goods to the homeless shelters.

DonBatalla also noted that she wants this event to raise awareness for the homeless. “I also hope that this brings some awareness of the community that these shelters do need assistance. Not just now, but throughout the year. So we're hoping that we can draw some attention and hopefully get them a little bit more support within the community as well.”

Gene Martinez, the HOST House manager, commented on what donations like these mean to his organization. "Oh, it means a lot. I mean, what we do is help these people daily and every bit of food that we get is helping them get better. … It’s really great when the community gets together like this, comes together for the host house because you know, we are saving lives here.”

Martinez said that most of the non-profit’s operation is dependent on donations. And they get them weekly, whether from the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, or an individual. Once, Martinez’s parents came by and went shopping for the house.

“I love the way the community comes together and helps this house out. … I believe been here going on four years. I have no reason to leave. I love this town.”

A donation box is available at the Patterson Joint Unified School District, 510 Keystone Boulevard, anyone can donate food and help the local homeless.

For further questions, contact Rising Sun on their Facebook page.

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