Nearly half the children served by the Marjaree Mason Center and Catholic Charities have no socks and underwear, but that is changing thanks to a campaign by advanced public relations students at Fresno State.
The #ShareAPair Campaign, with the slogan “It’s what’s Underneath that Counts,” is raising funds and collecting new pairs of socks and underwear for children ages 3-12 who are associated with the two local community organizations.
“More than 40 percent of the people we serve are children and many do not have new socks or undergarments,” said Kelly Lilles, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fresno. “This campaign is going to be a true blessing to these children and their families!”
The campaign, which runs through April 21 with a goal of collecting 1,000 pairs of socks and underwear, kicked off at Fresno State baseball and softball games last week.
Drop-off locations are on campus at the Henry Madden Library and McKee Fisk Room 236 and at Catholic Charities in downtown Fresno (149 N. Fulton St). More community drop off locations will be added to the full list.
The campaign is run by students enrolled in the Public Relations Cases and Campaigns Course taught by faculty adviser Betsy Hays in the Mass Communications and Journalism Department. Campaign logo and special support are provided by TALK, a Fresno State student club that is also a student-run public relations firm.
Donors may also bring new kids’ socks and underwear to Fresno State’s Vintage Days, April 15-17, where the students will staff a booth at the south end of Maple Mall near Y101 FM.
At the booth, children will be able to see the campaign students dressed as #ShareAPair superheroes, adorned in colorful capes, crazy tie-dyed socks and oversized underwear. A photo area at the campaign booth will be available for attendees to take pictures with the costumed students.
The campaign also includes social media components (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and the public can support by texting GIVE to 559.512.7780.
A competition between several Fresno State’s women’s sports teams and partnerships with local organizations will also help the campaign reach its goal.
Jackie Moreno, public relations student and campaign spokesperson, said the class is proud to be partnering with the two community organizations.
“Many families receiving services from the Marjaree Mason Center and Catholic Charities are unable to provide new articles of clothing for their children,” Moreno said. “The #ShareAPair campaign believes ‘it’s what’s underneath that counts’ and will provide these children with the new socks and underwear they need to start their days.”
Genelle Taylor Kumpe, executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center, said she is amazed by the social responsibility of the Fresno State students.
“With the majority of our clients being children, this campaign is impacting hundreds of lives through much needed donations,” Kumpe said. “We could not be more proud to be included alongside our friends at Catholic Charities.”
Lilles added, “I have been completely impressed and in awe of the time, dedication and commitment that the Fresno State students have exhibited regarding this campaign. We are blessed to be partnering with the Marjaree Mason Center, their amazing team, and Fresno State to help make a difference!”
About Marjaree Mason Center: For more than three decades, the Marjaree Mason Center has offered shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence in Fresno County. The Center operates Fresno County’s only dedicated provider of domestic violence shelter and support services, including education for victims and youth. And, MMC is one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the state of California. The Center was founded in 1979 after the murder of Marjaree Mason, a native of Easton. A graduate of Washington High School and Reedley College, Marjaree lived in Fresno for 31 years and was well known in the community. The Marjaree Mason Center’s mission is to support and empower adults and their children affected by domestic violence, while striving to prevent and end the cycle of abuse through education and advocacy.
About Catholic Charities: Since 1968, Catholic Charities has provided emergency assistance to those in crisis. Many come to them in need due to the loss of a job, a sick family member or life circumstances. The programs and services provided include seniors helping seniors, a Food Pantry, a Thrift Store, and a Representative Payee Program that provides financial management for those who cannot care for themselves. Catholic Charities helps on average more than 200,000 clients per year throughout the diocese. They are now focusing on an education program to help people get back to work by teaching themhow to use a computer, to navigate the Internet, complete a resume and to get their GED. Its goal is to not only provide nourishment and assistance for them but also to help them become self-sufficient.
- Text donations to 559.512.7780 — – type: GIVE