UA Student Vets Invested in Community Work

Alexis Blue
Feb. 21, 2013

UA student veterans have shown their dedication not only in the military and in the classroom, but also in their local community.

The UA chapter of the Student Veterans of America, or SVA, organizes several service projects and charity events throughout the year in an effort to make positive community-based contributions.

"There's always something new to do; there's always something to be addressed," said Ricardo Pereyda, a UA senior and president of the SVA's UA chapter. "And the service attitude to help our fellows is ingrained in us."

Since the summer of 2012, student veterans have engaged in a range of service activities, including:

  • Work in the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona's warehouse on two occasions, packaging more than 140,000 pounds of food to be distributed to more than 5,000 families in need in the region.
  • Work in the food bank's community garden (shown in the photo above) flipping compost piles, digging garden beds and getting more than a month's work done in a little more than three hours, according to one caretaker there.
  • Harvesting pumpkins at Tucson's Buckelew Farm, including other work like filling three semi-trucks with pumpkins for the food bank.
  • Serving of meals at the Casa Maria soup kitchen to hundreds of individuals who are homeless in Tucson.
  • Cooking and serving breakfast at Tucson's Ronald McDonald House for families staying there while their children were receiving treatment at the hospital.
  • Holding five clothing donations for Rally Point for Tucson veterans in need, while continuing to collect clothing for vets in the V.E.T.S. office on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center. To make a donation, stop by the office or email Pereyda at rap4@email.arizona.edu.
  • Holding a clothing drive for school children in Honduras after a soldier stationed there contacted a friend and veteran at the UA and told him he'd seen many children in the area wearing tattered clothes and shoes made out of duct tape.
  • Serving as volunteer staff at ZOOcson Feast for the Beasts, an annual fundraiser for Tucson's Reid Park Zoo.
  • And, over the holiday season, collecting toys for Toys for Tots.

The next volunteer gig on the student veterans' calendar is the UA's annual Cats in the Community service project on March 2, when a group of vets will join other University students and employees in revamping St. Elizabeth's Health Center in Tucson.

Pereyda said joining with his fellow student veterans to support the community has been extremely rewarding.

"In the midst of all the negative things you see in the news and the horrible tragedies taking place around the country and the around the world, getting out and helping other people is a ray of sunshine."

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