Fresno State students break Kids Day fundraising record

A record number of Fresno State students woke up before dawn to sell Kids Day newspapers for children in need.

Ninety-five clubs and organizations sold a special issue of The Fresno Bee to raise funds for the Valley Children’s Hospital. Fresno State students raised a record $44,666, according to unofficial numbers from the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.

The $1 Kids Day edition was sold from early morning through Tuesday afternoon by about 2,000 university participants on street corners around the Fresno State campus.

“Kids Day is an annual fundraiser for Valley Children’s Hospital,” said Bianca Mancilla, special events and projects coordinator for the Richter Center. “It’s one of their biggest annual fundraising events. The money goes directly to the children’s foundation and benefits children with their research and their treatment to support children that are battling diseases.”

Most of the clubs and organizations camped out the night before to claim busy intersections — corners are typically secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity members Edgar Islas, an industrial technology senior, and Casey Boggs, a music education senior, both arrived at the corner of Shaw and Woodrow avenues near the Student Recreation Center at 11 p.m. Monday night to secure their selling corner.

At noon Tuesday, they were still selling papers.

The selling areas are chosen strategically by participants. The fraternity staked out the intersection because the Starbucks across from campus and the rec center brought them a lot of foot traffic, said Boggs.

“It’s a bonding moment for us,” Islas said. “Last night was colder than usual, but we were all together talking and playing games.”

To stay warm through the windy, 40-degree weather at night, fraternity members had blankets and hot cocoa.

“The students enjoy this type of event, and it’s just great to see how excited and enthusiastic they are about raising money for children here in the Valley,” Mancilla said.

“I really enjoy seeing the passion and the excitement from the students, because they’ll do anything like backflips and chants to get the drivers’ attention.”

The club T.O.R.T.I.L.L.A. (Teatro Of Raza Towards Local Latino Awareness) has attempted to attract traffic in such a way.

“In the past, there has always been one or two people that dress up using some of the props that we’ve used before in our plays,” said Gelacio Rodriguez, a fifth-year political science major and president of the TORTILLA club. “Whoever feels energetic enough to put them on and dance around for the crowd to see, then they do that. That’s our upper hand because people see our enthusiasm, and it convinces them to buy from us.”

This year, Associated Students, Inc. is sponsoring prizes for top-selling groups in two categories — a large group and a small group. The winners in each category receive a pizza party and $200 in club funding, Mancilla said.

Sigma Phi Epsilon ($5,098) and Fresno State Army ROTC ($4,639) raised the most among Fresno State groups, according to unofficial numbers.

“It’s important to help families that don’t have the resources to pay for hospital bills and things like that,” Islas said. “I know. I personally have been in Children’s Hospital before when I was little, and so it’s nice to know how well they took care of me. So now I want to give back to them.”

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