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The Pioneer

From extra credit to community service

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

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Photos by Melody Platt/The Pioneer

Cal State East Bay’s Kinesiology students spent some extra time creating bag lunches for the homeless in Hayward, for some extra credit.

That is exactly what happened to CSUEB biology major Kevin Zsanchez and sociology major Zinaya Brown, while they attended an event to hand out food to the homeless for extra credit in one of their kinesiology courses. Zsanchez said he had an epiphany and he mentioned it to Brown.

“We were joking around and I said how can we get more extra credit but also relate it to something we want to do, like helping people who need it” Zsanchez said. “I jokingly said, hey we can raid some orchards and get some fruit to pass out?”

That joke turned into a full philanthropic effort for two kinesiology classes and nearly 50 students. CSUEB kinesiology instructor, Sabrina Smith, helped the students organize the impromptu project and buy supplies. The students bought enough food and supplies out of their own pockets to make 50 bag lunches to hand out to homeless people in the Hayward community. The group targeted high homeless populated areas like the Hayward BART Station and the Hayward Main Library.

“Since we are not a club we were told that we could not table for donations but the students who are leading the project still wanted to put on the event,” Smith said.

Students made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and filled the lunch bags with other items like fruit, jello cups, juice and water.

Brown said that the project related to her kinesiology class, “because there are a couple different dimensions of wellness, and supporting your community in this way is one of those things.”

Smith said after the lunches were made there was still between 10 and 20 pounds of fresh fruit, seven to 10 jars of peanut butter, seven to 10 jars of jelly, dinner rolls, seven loaves of bread and juice boxes, all of which were donated to the South Hayward Parish. The South Hayward Parish provides meals to the needy as well as a supply of food to their own and other local food banks where residents can get items for free.

Alameda County has the second highest poverty rate of all five Bay Area counties with nearly 12 percent of its residents living below the poverty line, according to a 2014 study by the county. The study also found that less than one percent of Hayward’s 151,574 residents are classified as homeless.

“This is much more than just extra credit for me,” participant and CSUEB student Nialyssa Tellez said. “This is great to show how the school can help the community.”

Unfortunately for the students the weather played a huge part in the delivery of the bag lunches. Smith said that the heavy rain made it hard for students to find people to pass the lunches out to. They passed out around 15 in Hayward and the remaining meals in Oakland. Smith also said that now that they have created a process to do something like this, it will make it easier again, something that Smith is hopeful will continue at CSUEB.,

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