News and Events
The Season of Giving: Pepperdine Hosts Holiday Service Projects
The spirit of the holidays stirs in the hearts of the Pepperdine community as faculty, students, and alumni unite for the season of giving. This year, service initiatives continued the scope of service to avenues of generosity, and purpose-filled members of Pepperdine’s five schools served familiar organizations to express their instinct to give.
"It's important that Pepperdine includes the community in holiday celebrations to prepare them for lives of purpose, service, and leadership," comments Waves of Service coordinator, Annalee Shelton. "Pepperdine students, faculty, and staff have the heart to give during the holidays and the initiatives put forth by Waves of Service make sure that those desires produce tangible contributions."
Campus Ministries coordinated Pepperdine's annual Santa Run to deliver gifts to children living in dire conditions. Every year, paper ornaments featuring each child's story are hung on Christmas trees around campus, ready to be picked by students, faculty, and staff. They then provide Christmas presents for their chosen child. This year, six Pepperdine students traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, with campus minster Thomas Fitzpatrick, for a weekend of distributing toys to children and rice, beans, and flour to families. In addition, some of the toys collected went to Los Angeles-based children through Angel Tree, an organization that partners with local churches and prisons to deliver gifts and the Gospel to children of incarcerated parents.
The Pepperdine Volunteer Center coordinated this year's Salvation Army Shopping Spree, which allows children and their families to shop for school clothing and other necessities at local stores in Santa Monica, Calif. Seaver College students participated in all aspects of this initiative, from providing check-in support to serving breakfast, and even assisting as chaperone shoppers. "Events like the Salvation Army Shopping Spree sustain the relationships Pepperdine has with its neighboring communities. To whom much is given, much is expected. We are essentially living out that mission," says Mattie Gullatt, Seaver College student and PVC Special Event Coordinator.
Alumni and Waves of Service
The giving spirit of the Pepperdine network extends beyond student and faculty contributions, and includes those members who give back to the university community past their graduation. Every year, a number of alumni chapters host Freely Give for the Holidays events— alumni social receptions that encourage donations of canned foods, toys, and other necessities in lieu of a monetary entrance fee. This year, 10 alumni chapters participated: New England, Ventura, Las Vegas, Bay Area, Dallas, Colorado, Orange County, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Seattle.
Every year, the Crest Associates (CA) host a tennis mixer and cookie exchange event, but this year Heidi Bernard, CA executive director, wanted to incorporate a service element to the proceedings. The CA partnered with Waves of Service and Heart of Compassion, a food distribution nonprofit with an alumni connection—director John Velasco ('80) is a Pepperdine graduate. Women attending the mixer on Friday, Dec. 2, brought with them a donated toy as well as their usual passion for tennis and cookies to exchange. The drive continued for two weeks with a donation bin in the CA office and near the tennis courts on the Malibu campus. Read more about the event here.
This year, Waves of Service partnered with the San Diego alumni chapter to raise money for, package, and distribute Christmas bags of nutritious snack packs for deployed USO troops to sustain them on their long flights. Organized by chapter director Reed Reichert, alumni packaged and distributed 1,500 Christmas bags for the Waves of Appreciation project.
"This project was successful in large part because it touched the hearts of so many people who remembered what it was like to be alone and hungry in airports and in airplanes as they traveled off to war," says Reichert. "I can not tell you how many former soldiers who approached us with tears in their eyes to say thank you for what we were doing." Watch a San Diego Fox News special about the project online here.