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Runners throw colors into the sky during the Color Out Hunger 5K run on April 15, which took place at the Cal State University San Marcos track. Roughly 100 students ran in the third annual event. Courtesy photo
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Color Out Hunger Run takes place at CSUSM

SAN MARCOS — Food drives usually happen only during the holiday season. For Sonya Mclin, it just wasn’t enough.

“Most of the time we do food drives during Thanksgiving,” Mclin, organizer of the Color Out Hunger Run, said. “Why do it once a year? Do it in the spring also because people are hungry all year around.”

On April 15, California State University San Marcos held its third annual Color Out Hunger Run to collect canned food for the hungry. The 5K run was held on the CSUSM track and field, in which roughly 100 students ran to get splattered with colors. Throughout the course, volunteers threw colored powder at the participating students and guests.

The fundraiser was a food donation; participants brought at least two can goods to the event. This year Campus Recreation, the nonprofit that organized the event with Mclin, along with the LGBTQA Center, collected 230 pounds. For each of the past two years they have collected at least 200 pounds of food.

“This was a great way to have fun, get involved and give back to the community,” Dillon Price, an event participant, said.

Usually the event gives the canned goods to the San Diego Food Bank or the North County Food Bank, but this year’s run will be giving food to CSUSM’s food pantry, coming this fall, for hungry students.

“I’m finding out that we do have some students around that are lacking in food so that’s why the whole … food pantry came about,” Mclin said. “So instead of donating outside, this year we are keeping it (at CSUSM) to help us start out our food pantry this year.”

According to, one in six people in America face hunger. Also, a new report found two-thirds of community college students don’t have enough to eat and 14 percent are homeless, according to an article published by NPR.

The California State University system conducted a study in February 2015 on how CSU campuses were handling hungry students and to eventually offer help for these students. The study found “displaced students at 8.7 percent and food insecure students at 21 percent; however, preliminary student survey results from one school showed a high population (21 percent and 24percent).”

In 2016, the CSU system held a conference to help students with food and housing insecurity and another is set for this year.