How does Operation Santa work?
Finding families that need help
Around early-October, we begin posting flyers at various establishments in different San Diego counties (e.g. La Mesa, Lakeside, El Cajon, Chula Vista, National City, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley) that contain our contact email address, deadline to receive nominations, and the information we require about the nominated family.
We also have been fortunate enough to receive air time from local radio and TV morning shows to promote awareness of our project and solicit nominations sent to our email address.
After our deadline passes, the Operation Santa committee will make the decision on which families we can help based on their needs and our current funding situation.
After families have been selected
Once families have been selected, they will be notified via email and phone, and a wish list will be requested during the phone call. If the children still believe in Santa Claus, we will ask the parents to guide their children in writing a "Dear Santa" letter asking for the items that we can afford (this will reinforce their belief in Santa Claus once they see that they received what they asked for).
The Operation Santa committee will then purchase and wrap the gifts, and deliver the gifts to the families at their residence by mid-December.
Since we are college students, we are limited by the amount of funds we can raise. Our organization (APO) budgets a set amount for the project each year (based on membership dues that have been paid), and some of our own members/alumni are generous enough to donate out of their own pockets. We also work concession stands at Qualcomm stadium, setup coin wars and restaurant fundraisers and sell food on campus at UCSD. Local grocery stores (Food 4 Less, Ralphs, Vons, Henrys) and restaurants (Souplantation, Hometown Buffet) have donated gift cards and meal passes.