Love in Action: Sac State aids unhoused community through giving back event

A day of service packed in a backpack


Chris Woodard

The Sacramento State University Library Feb. 10, 2023, where the donations are accepted for the ‘Love in Action,’ event. This event is in collaboration with Josh’s Heart Homeless Connect, a Sacramento-based non profit that aims to support individuals experiencing homelessness and addiction. (Photo by Jacob Peterson, graphic by Chris Woodard made in Canva).

Peyton Sorosinski

Sacramento State’s Community Engagement Center is partnering with Josh’s Heart Homeless Connect for their “Love in Action” event Saturday to aid the unhoused community. 

Volunteers from the engagement center, along with the nonprofit, are collecting donations to fill “Blessing Backpacks” with necessities and will deliver them to the homeless community at local parks.

“We have gotten so accustomed to seeing homelessness on the street, we kind of forget about them,” said Don Nahhas, a Sacramento State Risk Management employee. “My goal is to have these students and everyone involved [in the event] realize that every single person out there is somebody’s someone: a father, a brother, a sister, son or daughter and they matter.”

Volunteer and Program Specialist for the engagement center, Sherell Branch, said her goal is to fill 200 backpacks with essentials like gift cards for food, hygiene kits, flashlights and snacks. 

Volunteers will assemble the backpacks in the University Union from 10 a.m. to noon and will distribute them to homeless individuals at Cesar Chavez Park and another park —- that is to be determined —- from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Nahhas established Josh’s Heart, a nonprofit organization, with his wife Dawn —- also a Sac State employee. They founded the nonprofit in honor of their son, Josh Brent Moore, who died at 32 years old in 2016 from complications caused by alcoholism.

The organization has been promoting Josh’s legacy of trying to help and protect those he cared for by helping people who are affected by addiction and homelessness— a community which is often left out, according to Nahhas.

Nahhas said he wants the volunteers to be excited to meet the people they will be giving the backpacks to and to take it as an opportunity to get to know them.

“We want to look them in the eye, tell them our name, ask them theirs, get an idea of who they are and what their story is and give them a sense of dignity, which they deserve,” Nahhas said. 

Branch said she wants to provide opportunities for students and employees of Sac State to connect with the Sacramento community, mostly through volunteer work.

“The goal was to have something once a month for students and staff to get involved in and to provide an opportunity for them to look outside of themselves so that we can show love in action for our unhoused community members,” Branch said.

Ann Moylan, director of the CEC, said Love in Action is one of many volunteering opportunities the engagement center provides for those who want to become more involved in the community. 

“The students and faculty are really invested in our community,” Moylan said. “Students, faculty and staff are all involved in wanting to make Sacramento a stronger, better place.”

Donations can be made to Josh’s Heart directly. In addition, items for the Blessing Backpacks can be brought to the Community Engagement Center through Tuesday in office 4028 of the University Library from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.