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Fresno State Student Cupboard Fundraiser Sets Record, but COVID-19 Creates More Need



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Last month’s annual fundraising campaign for the Fresno State Student Cupboard set a record with $327,275 contributed by 434 individual donors and community partners.

Nancy Price

School Zone

But even though the March Match Up is officially over, the need to support students continues because of pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students who work to support themselves and pay for college are now unemployed after the places where they worked had to close last month.

Funds can be donated to help Fresno State students with emergencies and other needs.

In addition, State Center Community College District has created a COVID-19 Emergency Aid for Students fund.

Need Is Great at Fresno State

The Fresno State Student Cupboard provides free food and hygiene items to students who may be struggling. During the last academic year, 6,073 students used the Student Cupboard, totaling 57,265 visits.

“The needs of our students are greater than ever before. The success of this campaign was crucial in order to serve whatever lies ahead,” said Fresno State first lady Mary Castro, who has spearheaded the fundraising campaign since it began.

“I am truly grateful for the response and support of our community. In a time of monumental crisis, they demonstrated that they know Fresno State students are valuable to our future. They want them to succeed. They believe in them. Students need to know this especially during this time of isolation and uncertainty.”

Fresno Website for Kindergartners Goes Worldwide

Ericson Elementary teacher David Hunter figured his transitional kindergarten students might need a website they could navigate without needing much, or even any, assistance from their parents, so they could keep learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Hunter enlisted the help of fellow teachers who provided content and of his daughter Amelie, a Computech Middle School eighth-grader, who designed the site and is administering it.

The Fresno TK Website has gone worldwide, with users as far away as India and South Africa, according to site analytics Hunter shared Friday with GV Wire.

Analytics of the Fresno TK website show its worldwide reach — so far. (Special to GV Wire/David Hunter)

In the past week, he said, there were 1,600 users and 2,200 sessions, and he’s seeing the number of return users climbing.

Educating very young students through distance learning is challenging.

Hunter notes: “I have peers in my grade who have been trying to do Zoom sessions with their families but the technology and time gaps are difficult to bridge and having more than three five-year-olds on a Zoom call is proving to be harder than trying to train a cat.”

Fresno Pacific Grads: Mark Your Calendars

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have denied us many things, the commencement for Fresno Pacific University’s spring Class of 2020 will not be one of them.

And as we all learned in preschool, sharing is one of life’s most important lessons.

The spring and fall 2020 graduates will share the stage for a combined commencement that’s scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 12 at the Selland Arena in downtown Fresno.

Spring graduates will receive their diplomas in the mail over the summer. The dates for commencement-related events such as the hooding ceremony for graduate students and the teacher credential celebration are still being worked out and will be based on the safety of students and others, the university says.

Not Lost in The Shuffle

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond’s recognition of California schools that won the 2020 Civic Learning Awards came last month just as the COVID-19 crisis was exploding, causing districts to close schools abruptly and Californians to shelter at home.

The Civic Learning Awards program, co-sponsored by Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, recognizes schools that engage students in civic learning through strong civics curriculum and service-learning projects in their communities.

It might be a while before students can venture out again on service projects, although some are still helping out even now by sewing masks, making cards, and donating blood.

So here’s a shout-out to the 14 schools in Clovis and Fresno whose accomplishments earned them awards of merit in the 2020 Civic Learning Awards: Boris Elementary, Century Elementary, Cole Elementary, Copper Hills Elementary, Dry Creek Elementary, Fort Washington Elementary, Freedom Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Maple Creek Elementary, Oraze Elementary, Red Bank Elementary, Riverview Elementary, and Tarpey Elementary in Clovis Unified, and Fresno High School in Fresno Unified.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email