COTS craft drive helps benefit local children

The holidays are all about giving, and that is no exception at Sonoma State University. From Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, the Early Childhood Development Club collected arts and crafts supplies to benefit Committee on the Shelterless, or COTS. 

“We are collecting arts and craft supplies for Committee on the Shelterless’ Kids First Children’s Program. We were tabling this week to collect donations. This drive is a follow up to our Lobos fundraiser which helped us raise $48.51 for COTS,” said senior Danny Loureiro, an early childhood studies major. 

Based out of Petaluma, COTS is an organizationhelping families rebuild their lives and find housing. COTS provides emergency food, transitional housing,  permanent housing, emergency shelter and classes on budgeting and parenting. 

“We serve about 2,400 people per year. Our housing programs range from emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing. Geographically, we span from Petaluma to Healdsburg. In addition to housing, we provide food assistance and skills-building programs,” Eileen Morris, Manager of Community Engagement, said. 

Loureiro, who serves as the President of the Early Childhood Club, said the idea came from an advisor.

“I first became familiar with COTS a few weeks earlier when they visited my class- Leadership and Advocacy on Behalf of Children and Families. There was a representative there looking for students to apply for an internship. This donation drive was a way to support them as well as our interest in the field of early childhood development and education,” Loureiro said. 

The club collected enough supplies to fill boxes, and will deliver them to COTS on Friday. In addition to tabling in the quad, a designated drop box was placed on the second floor of the student center. The drive started out slower than expected, but picked up towards the end. 

“The kids who live at COTS love making art, but our budget is always tight, and we rely on community donations to supply the kids art program,” Morris said. 

“For me, this experience has involved a lot of chilly weather, heavy lifting, and patience. I learned that donation drives can have a slow start, but with enough perseverance you can have positive results,” Loureiro said. 

To donate to the COTS craft drive, contact Danny at loureird@sonoma.edu. To learn more about COTS, visit www.cots-homeless.org. To tour COTS, RSVP at ww.tourcots.org.