News and Events
Pepperdine Community Reaches Across the Border with Annual Santa Run
For many children in Mexico, amenities like toothpaste and socks are a luxury. This holiday season, a group of disadvantaged Mexican children received a special treat for Christmas from the Pepperdine community.
The service initiative, known as Santa Run 2009, began on November 17. Paper ornaments with details on a child in need were placed on Christmas trees around campus. Students, faculty, staff and friends picked up the ornaments, and then shopped for Christmas presents for that child. Students compiled their gifts at a special holiday chapel on December 9, and the gifts were delivered to communities in San Felipe and Tijuana prior to Christmas.
In vehicles brimming with gifts, students, faculty, and staff recently caravanned to Mexico to hand-deliver toys, clothing, and practical items such as toothpaste and combs to the children. Upon their arrival, volunteers spent a full day in each city and held Christmas celebrations for the children, complete with games, crafts, food, and presents.
Santa Run has become a Pepperdine tradition since its inception over 20 years ago by members of the Malibu Church of Christ. Now organized by students in the University’s Volunteer Center and Campus Ministry, the Santa Run has blossomed into an event that unites the University community with churches and orphanages in Mexico.
Every year, about 100 students, faculty, and staff provide both gifts and campus meal points, which are translated into dollars and used to buy food for the volunteers on the trip.
“Neither words nor pictures can fully express the joy each child felt,” says Ashley Nolan, Pepperdine’s volunteer projects coordinator. “Everything from the special toy to the new pair of pants was a tremendous gift to them. Most importantly, it was the love that came with the gifts—that traveled across borders, class, age, and race to brighten a child’s holiday.”
Celebrating with these children year after year has a way of putting the holidays in perspective. “Santa Run is a special event,” explains Nolan, “because it brings the Pepperdine community together to give to those in need, and reminds us of the true meaning of the holiday season.”
For more information on volunteer opportunities at Pepperdine University, contact the Pepperdine Volunteer Center at (310) 506-4143.