UCSD fraternity helps local families in need

Members of UCSD’s service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, have been working on “Operation Santa,” an annual fundraising effort dedicated to helping families in need all over San Diego County.

Due to the co-ed fraternity’s outreach initiatives and perhaps because of the economic crisis, “Operation Santa” received a record number of donations this year and a record number of families were nominated to receive help. Many are single mothers, including mothers who are victims of domestic violence, facing illness, have experienced the loss of a family member and others who are struggling to financially support their families.

Junior and co-chair of “Operation Santa” Angela Lee recalled when one mother said she couldn’t even afford to buy food for her children. “I just want to give back however I can,” Lee said.

Another volunteer, junior Tiffany Tsiou, said there’s nothing better than walking into a home and seeing all the children get excited because you’re bringing them Christmas.

This year, for the first time, the organization partnered with other UCSD groups including the Pre-Medical Association of Students for Service, Alpha Kappa Psi, Women and Children Care Initiative, Health and Medical Professions Preparation Program, American Medical Student Association and resident advisors from Eleanor Roosevelt College. With the difficult economy “Operation Santa” is still looking for donations, both of money and of gifts, for more information and to donate, please contact


Other campus efforts this holiday season included:

  • UCSD Volunteer50 worked with Toys for Tots to help Marines sort new, unwrapped toys that will go to children in need.
  • UCSD Staff Association’s annual toy drive benefits children at the UCSD burn center, infant care center, mother, child and adolescent center, as well as the Bannister Family House.
  • At the staff’s Annual Holiday Pancake Breakfast, the campus’s Veterans Association is collecting clothing for the Veterans Village of San Diego.