Student project helps homeless
Posted May 8, 2009
Stephanie Arellanes
Collecting the donations for her senior project, Maxtla Benavides, a public relations major, picks up one of her three boxes from the newly rebuilt Hanawalt House. Donations raised from Benavides’ project, Operation Help, went to benefit the Foothill Family Shelter in Upland.

Julissa Cardenas
Staff Writer

In an effort to promote awareness of homeless shelters and their particular needs during the current recession, Maxtla Benavides, a senior communications major, started Operation Help, a public relations campaign, as her senior project.

In her coordinated effort that include garnering the help of University students and faculty, Pomona Senior High School students, and a Cal Poly Latino club, Benavides gathered donated canned foods, diapers, cleaning supplies, laundry soap and other needed items to the Upland-based Foothill Family Shelter.

The donating took place during the month of April, and it ended on May 1.

There were many places around campus where students could donate items.

“I had three official donating centers, Leo’s Den, Wilson Library and the University Advancement,” Benavides said. “I really wanted to get the word out there that shelters are affected, and their numbers have tripled, making it hard for them to supply the needed amount to people.”

The Foothill Family Shelter houses homeless adults and children for up to 120 days, free of rent and utility charges.

It also provides one-year transitional housing as well as permanent housing for those in need.

“I was glad that many people helped out and it was great that the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority took charge and helped out with what they could,” Benavides said.

Nancy De Leon, a senior business administration major, was glad to help out.

“I saw the donation centers and got curious about what they needed. It’s a great senior project,” De Leon said.

“Now more than ever, we need to help those in need. It is a crucial time for all of us and I urge people to keep donating and helping out as much as possible,” Benavides said. “This economy has been extremely hard for everyone, but it has been much harder for those who initially have nothing.”

For more information, call the shelter at 909-920-5568.

Julissa Cardenas can be reached at

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