In what its members hope will be the first of many joint projects, the political advocacy group the Gray Panthers is teaming up with a high school social service club today to sponsor a food drive for homeless women and children.
Volunteers from the two groups will ask shoppers outside a Ralphs supermarket in North Hollywood to buy extra cans or boxes of non-perishable food to donate to the drop-in center and homeless shelter run by the Women's Care Cottage in Van Nuys.
The seniors met the students a few months ago, when the Gray Panthers approached members of the Interact Club at North Hollywood High School to discuss social issues ranging from racism to school choice.
They cast about for a project to do together and settled on the food drive.
"We don't think the problems of living are all that different for different generations," said Dorace Deigh, president of the Valley chapter of the Gray Panthers.
The Women's Care Cottage offers services such as hot meals, showers, assessment and shelter referrals to homeless women and children. Last year, the organization served more than 6,000 people.
Elizabeth Magaletta, 18, a member of the Interact Club, praised food drives as an effective way of encouraging people to help others.
"The act of seeing what you are giving is important for a lot of people," Magaletta said. "Most of the time, you don't get to see where your money is going."
The food drive will be held at Ralphs supermarket at 10900 Magnolia St. in North Hollywood from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.