Operation Santa event helps disantaged families during the christmas season.
By Jordan Utley-Thomson, Staff Writer
Valley College presents Operation Santa: an opportunity for local elementary school teachers to have impoverished students write Christmas lists in hopes of getting the gifts they desire.
Collection boxes will be set up at various businesses in order to receive the toys needed for donations.
Additionally, Operation Santa gives the Valley neighborhood a chance to adopt a family for the holidays. Anybody can participate and choose a student to purchase gifts for them and their family.
“This really is a community event,” said the coordinator of Operation Santa activities Joshua Miller.
Miller has helped out in previous years by organizing the structure of the event and will do so again this year.
The children sponsored by Operation Santa will be able to pick up their presents either at Valley or have volunteers in Santa costumes personally deliver the gifts to their homes.
Valley’s Honor Society, Tau Alpha Epsilon, and North Hollywood High School’s Key Club are heavily involved with the Christmas program. The two groups help run the event at Valley, set up the collection boxes and deliver the presents.
A holiday staff and faculty party will be held on Dec. 10 in support of Operation Santa. The party is open to the public. Attendees can choose to pay either $5 or donate an unwrapped toy. All the toys and proceeds will go towards the charity.
Operation Santa grows more successful each year. In 2010, 20 families received gifts. After coming to Valley in 2011, the number of families grew to 70, due much to the extra support provided by Valley’s faculty and staff. Last year featured another increase with a greater turnout from the community.
The North Hollywood Junior Chamber of Commerce runs the program, and its former president, Wendie Wilson-Miller, was responsible for the annual event’s move to Valley in 2011. Even though newly elected president Dionna Veremis is now in charge, Wilson-Miller and her husband, Joshua Miller, are still heavily involved in organizing the event.
“I am excited about kicking off Operation Santa,” Miller said. “This is an example of the community getting together to help those that are less fortunate.”