The school’s elective sewing class, taught by Fresno State alumna Janice Marshall, is mission driven. Students in sixth through eighth grades learn various sewing skills and spend the school year creating “ugly dolls,” which are sold at the school’s open house to raise funds for local causes.
This year, the students raised almost $900 — $440 of which was gifted to the Amendola Family Student Cupboard, a free food and hygiene pantry for current Fresno State students. Another $440 was gifted to the Animal Compassion Team of California.
“Every student who signed up for this class knew [we were] fundraising,” said Finley, an eighth grader. “We want to make sure Fresno State’s students know they don’t have to worry about going hungry or having basic products. We want to make sure they know that we have their back.”
Marshall’s students created a variety of “ugly dolls,” including Disney-themed dolls, dolls in the shape of hearts, flowers and various foods, and dolls that were freestyled from the students’ imagination.
“We call them ugly dolls, after the original movie, but there’s nothing ugly about them. They’re actually works of art,” Marshall said.
The students are only in the class two or three days per week, so some dolls took nearly a month to complete.
“Everybody kept pace. And a majority of these students are also involved in all of our performing arts — show choir, our dance ensemble, our play, our bands and orchestra. They’re doing all kinds of things in addition to this.”
The Amendola Family Student Cupboard offers a variety of perishable and non-perishable food items, including fresh produce donated by both on- and off-campus community partners. Hygiene products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and laundry detergent are given out twice a month, and diapers are also available once a month for students with children living in their household.
“It’s inspiring that young students already have that philanthropic mindset and want to donate to the University and the Amendola Family Student Cupboard,” said Alicia Nelson, director of the Amendola Family Student Cupboard. “Their hearts are in the right place, and we hope they continue with their giving spirit in the future.”
The $440 donated by Marshall’s class is enough to provide Fresno State students 440 frozen meals, 175 half gallons of milk, or 240 packs of baby wipes.
“We’re very thankful for the donation,” Nelson said. “Every dollar counts toward supporting students’ basic needs.”
The Amendola Family Student Cupboard is primarily funded by donations.
By Marisa Mata.
A short video about the Amendola Family Student Cupboard.