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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Students Hope Collection Efforts Make a Difference

International students leading efforts to collect clothing and personal items for local organization.

Brian Arola, Mankato Free Press, 11-8-3016

MANKATO — An international student-led effort at Minnesota State University, Mankato aims to collect clothing and personal items all over campus for the Committee Against Domestic Abuse.

As part of the “Make a Difference” project, students placed boxes at campus hotspots where faculty or fellow students can drop off donated items.

On Nov. 16, the boxes will be combined and donated to CADA and any students who need it. On the same day, 50 percent of proceeds at area Chipotles also will be donated to the nonprofit.

Minnesota State Mankato student Maria Ruiz-Mendez said via email that a fellow student came to her with the idea for the collection drive to donate winter clothing items. From there, they saw CADA’s online wishlist of items and decided to accept any donated items.

“Due to the great response of everyone we decided to accept any item of clothes and personal items,” Ruiz-Mendez said. “Today, we just received a donation of 50 new toothbrushes.”

Knowing the services CADA offers to abuse survivors, Ruiz-Mendez said they were the perfect fit as a beneficiary. She said the hope is that the project will become an annual collection effort to aid nonprofits.

Fellow students also stand to benefit. On the final collection day, organizers have planned a closing event in Centennial Student Union where students in need can pick from the donated goods.

“Everyone is encouraged to come and look for the items that they might need,” Ruiz-Mendez said.

Sara Sinnard, interim executive director at CADA, said the nonprofit was excited when the students reached out with the idea.

“To hear what these students are doing is really heartwarming,” she said. “It takes a whole community to address domestic abuse and these students are really showing a lot of leadership coming forward and doing this.”

CADA is always looking for donations to stock its shelters, she said.

Along with the student union, donation boxes can be found on campus at Myers Field House, residence halls and offices around campus. Additional boxes were left at South Central College, Hosanna Highland Church, Newman Center and local apartment complexes.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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