SIU fraternities donate presents to children

By Shannon Allen, @ShannonAllen_DE

Kids from all over the world will open presents from fraternities this Christmas.

Beta Theta Pi and Alpha Tau Omega are donating toys, hygiene products and clothing to underprivileged children from southern Illinois and countries such as the Ukraine, Serbia, Romania and Belarus.

Last year, Beta Theta Pi teamed up with the Marine Corps Reserve in a Toys for Tots Drive to donate toys to more than 1,172 children in Carbondale and more than 3,000 in southern Illinois, according to JK Brandon, risk management chair of Beta Theta Pi.


“Toys for Tots affects our community directly,” said Brandon, a junior from Buffalo Grove studying psychology. “It’s an excellent program founded by the Marines, and it’s a fantastic way to get involved with the community.”

Brandon said drop-off boxes are in Morris Library and donations will be collected until Dec. 12.

Alpha Tau Omega partnered with Samaritan’s Purse for its second annual Operation Christmas Child on Wednesday. Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that “provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world,” according to its website.

Operation Christmas Child donates gift-filled shoeboxes to children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters and other crises in various countries.

Last year, ATO donated $500 and raised more than $12,000 to send 165 boxes to these countries, according to Kohl Lamb, organizer of the project and member of ATO.

“We have all had the privilege of receiving gifts on Christmas our whole lives,” said Lamb, a junior from Ottawa studying aviation flight and management. “It feels right to give to children who have never had that opportunity to open something new for the first time.”

This year, ATO donated $750 to buy 700 items for children, according to Nolan McConnell, a junior from Bourbonnais studying computer science and incoming president of ATO.


“Kids having presents to open on Christmas morning is important,” McConnell said. “I’m glad to be a part of that.”

Shannon Allen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ShannonAllen_DE.