Feb. 23 is National TRiO Day, a day set aside to celebrate the positive impact of federal programs that help low-income and first-generation students enter college and earn a degree.

At CSU Monterey Bay, it’s also a day of service to the community.

Toiletries collected during last year's driveSponsored by TRiO Student Support Services, students are collecting toiletries throughout the month of February for Dorothy's Place in Salinas, a provider of services to the homeless.

"It's always good to give back to the community and what better way of doing it than to gather up everyday necessities for those in need,” said student and peer mentor Stephanie Solorio, who has played a key role in planning this year's National TRiO Day at CSUMB.

“TRiO programs do their best to reach out to those in need and to encourage the school community to be involved and contribute," she said.

Items that are needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, combs, hairbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, deodorant, razors and shaving cream, tissues and toilet paper.

From Feb. 8 through 22, donations can be deposited in bins located in the Alumni and Visitors Center, the Health Center, the Student Services Building, the Student Center, the Dining Commons, and at the library café. On Feb. 23, volunteers will deliver the items to Dorothy's Place.

Community members are also invited to participate in the drive. Anyone who would like to contribute can contact Chloe English of CSUMB’s TRiO Student Support Services at 582-4451.

Students in two other CSUMB-based TRiO programs are also involved in service projects.

At Watsonville and Soledad high schools – served through the CSUMB-based Upward Bound program – students are collecting toiletries to be distributed in their communities. And high school students served by the Educational Talent Search program are organizing a bone marrow drive on Feb. 23 at Holy Trinity Church, 803 Elm St., in Greenfield. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., people can drop by for a cheek swab to determine if they are suitable donors.

TRiO began with the Upward Bound program, started in 1964 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Educational Talent Search was added the next year, and a third program, Student Support Services, was added three years later. By the late 1960s, the term "TRiO" was coined to describe these federal programs.

Over the years, the TRiO programs have been expanded and improved to provide a wider range of services and to reach more students. All are federally funded.

Learn more about TRiO programs at CSUMB.

For more information about National TRiO Day, please contact Chloe English at 582-4451.

Photo: Some of the toiletries collected during last year's drive