Laney seeks donations to support Open Door Mission

December 8, 2016 9:46 AM

Homelessness, poverty, income inequality, hunger and gentrification are not new problems for Oaklanders, or to students at Laney College. Thus, for many years the school has spearheaded a food drive to benefit the Open Door Mission, located on Seventh Street near the college. In the current economic conditions, donations are severely needed.
The Open Door Mission is a faith-based Gospel Rescue Mission. It provides meals for anyone who needs assistance. It does not provide places to sleep.


At Laney College, a
student places a donation in the collection box set up in the library as part of the school’s partnership with the Open Door Mission, which provides hot meals to those in need. Laney has held holiday food drives to benefit the mission since the 1980s.

The mission does have a sober living environment that provides a small number of beds, but it is by invitation only and not available to the general population.
Every year, Laney Principal Library Technician Andrew Skinner-Demps sets up a display in the library between Thanksgiving and the end of the fall semester. This year the display consists of four brightly wrapped collection boxes and a sign detailing what kind of items are on the mission’s wish list.
According to Demps, who took over the program 13 years ago, “Laney has been participating at least since the 80s and maybe even longer.” The drive used to bring in about 12 boxes of food and $500 in donations.
Demps laments that donations have gone down in recent years with the decline of the economy. Last year the library collected 12 boxes of food but only $56 in cash.
“Donations usually come in at the last minute,” Demps said.
So far this year, only one box of food has been collected. Demps remains hopeful that more donations arrive before the Dec. 16 deadline.
Shon Slaughter, the executive director of the Open Door Mission and a Laney student, also hopes more donations come in, but he is more concerned with raising awareness and having students volunteer.
Slaughter says the partnership brings students into the mission to volunteer. “Even if someone can’t volunteer, they can take a tour and see that the people there are no different than they are.”
Raising awareness, breaking down stereotypes, creating empathy and understanding as well as collecting food for the hungry, Laney’s partnership with the Open Door Mission benefits both Laney and those who need help.
“It’s just a way to do our little part,” Demps said.
There have not been many donations this year. Everyone hopes more donations will come in before the Dec. 16 deadline. If anyone is able, please drop off donations at the Laney Library, or call to see if your donation can be picked up.
For more, call: Andrew Skinner-Demps (510) 464-3499; Michael Wright (510) 464-3493; Lily Leung (510) 464-3105; or Randle Wasson (510) 464-3500.

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