Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brief History of Operation Santa

1998 - Proto-Operation Santa: UCNH Jaycees was forming as a new chapter. Two toy drives were held at Sears North Hollywood and Kaybee Toys in Sherman Oaks. The toys were donated to the North Hollywood Police Department's annual toy drive. Some of the UCNH members participated with the police in delivering the toys to children a few days before Christmas.

1999 - First ever Operation Santa: (flyer to the left, click on image for larger view): The Jaycees now an official chapter with nearly 35 members undertakes a complete Operation Santa project on their own, based on the program run by the Pasadena Jaycees. North Pole base of Operation was the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn. Chairperson was William Sparks.

2000 - Lets Do It Again: Jaycees now at 50 members. Base of operation moved to Universal City-North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

2001 - Op Santa Goes Digital: Database system implemented to streamline toy delivery. Nearly 60 members. UCNH Jaycees chosen as #1 Jaycee Chapter in the State of California.

2002 -The Coming of Jack: Additional innovations added to streamline toy delivery. 2006 UCNH Jaycees Chapter President Jack Witt joins the chapter just prior to the project. Serves as Chairperson. Extra toys donated to LA Homeless Services.

2003 - The Last Op Santa?: Jack Witt chairs once again. Writes Operation Santa song. More families than ever (100) served. Microsoft Streets and Trips replaces use of venerable Thomas Guide for routing deliveries, first time use of custom made delivery maps. Last time Universal City-North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce serves as North Pole headquarters.

2004 - The Year Without An Op Santa: Chapter decides to experiment and try a holiday party for children instead of Operation Santa. Many children in attendance and Santa can serve them all at once.

2005 - Op Santa Is Back!: After a one year hiatus Operation Santa returns! New partnership forged with Los Angeles Valley College. Universal City-North Hollywood Chamber is on board with amazing support. Classical recital at Valley College featuring Ermin Cruz, III is most successful Op Santa fund raiser ever. Chairperson is Michael Higby.

2006 - The Beat Goes On: Operation Santa in full swing again. Nearly 100 families served. More local businesses sign up to host toy bin donation stations. Classical recital featuring Ermin Cruz, III is held again, this time adding noted soprano Gina Graziadio. Chairperson is Megan Hammit.

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