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USO San Diego and Pepperdine Alumni to Feed 4,000 Traveling Military Members During Holiday Season

Pepperdine University’s San Diego Alumni Chapter launches 9th annual Waves of Appreciation on Nov. 9



Pepperdine alumni, United Service Organizations (USO) members, and volunteers will gather at USO San Diego Neil Ash Airport Center to pack over 4,000 Waves of Appreciation (WOA) bags with non-perishable food on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 11 AM. The WOA bags will be handed out in December to 4,000 active-duty military service members traveling for the holidays on commercial flights from the San Diego International Airport.

During this popular annual service event, volunteers spend more than four hours working in an assembly line to stuff 20 individual items into each of the 4,000 drawstring bags. The effort requires opening more than six tons of individually packaged food items, breaking down cardboard boxes, and discarding hundreds of cartloads of recyclable waste.

"The event is four hours of hard work, packing 4,000 drawstring bags by hand. But we have fun while we're doing it, listening to music and trying to beat our own pace. Plus, it's always fun to see more than $20,000 worth of snack food stacked up in an assembly line! The crowd of 60+ volunteers quickly feels like a family. This year we're especially honored to have an active duty service member singing the national anthem for us, which will set the patriotic mood for the day,"  says Elise Korican, Waves of Appreciation co-chair. To provide encouragement to event volunteers, members of the Santa Fe Christian Dance Troupe will return for the third year to perform patriotic songs and new dance routines. This year’s WOA bags will contain a variety of crackers, fruit snacks, nuts, beef jerky donated by Jack Links, granola bars donated by Target, and thank you notes from San Diegans of all ages.

Started in 2011 after Pepperdine parent Reed Reichert met an exhausted and hungry service member on a flight, WOA has assembled and distributed nearly  30,000 bags over the last eight years. Over that same time, more than 1,500 volunteers from the San Diego community have contributed more than 5,000 recorded hours. Reflecting on his experience with Waves of Appreciation, Reichert said, “I am honored to have had the opportunity to thank so many of these young men and women for their service to our country. They represent America at its best.”

2019 Waves of Appreciation sponsors include Pepperdine University’s Waves of Service program, Knights of Columbus, Jack Links, Los Rancheros Kiwanis, Pettit Kohn, and Target. To become a sponsor, write a thank you note to a service member, or make a tax-deductible donation to this project through USO San Diego visit the Waves of Appreciation website.

About Waves of Appreciation
Founded in 2011 by a coalition of the San Diego Waves chapter of Pepperdine University alumni, USO San Diego, and local San Diego residents and companies, Waves of Appreciation aims to provide a food resource for members of the armed services who are traveling for holiday leave. For more information about Waves of Appreciation, or to see photos, videos, and media coverage of last year’s bag assembly and distribution, as well as thank you notes from service members, please visit wavesofappreciation.org.

About USO San Diego
Founded in 1941, The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. USO San Diego is a premier USO Chartered Center providing morale and support services, as well as a home away from home for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. For more information, please visit: www.usosandiego.org.


Media Contact

Megan Souleles
Director, Alumni Engagement