Frequently Asked Questions

For Nominators
For Adopters
For Donors

For Nominators

Who is eligible to be helped by Operation Santa?
Any family that is living in the San Diego area.

Can I nominate my own family?

Why is the deadline well before Christmas?
While we try to make the deadline as close to Christmas as possible, we are unfortunately restricted by the fact that we are college students and most of our members go home for the holidays once finals are over (normally by the 2nd week of December) and will not be in San Diego.†† Since we normally need about 2-3 weeks to select families, purchase gifts, wrap and deliver the presents, our deadlines are generally around mid-November.

I missed the deadline.Is it really too late to nominate a family?
You may still submit your nomination.However, we cannot guarantee that the nomination will be considered since we may have already committed to all the families we can help based on our current funds.We do occasionally receive requests from the community to adopt a family, in which case, we can then consider the late nominations.

How much detailed information do you need about the family?
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!The only way we can decide which family needs help the most is based on your nomination and the information you provide.Please be as specific as possible with all the hardships that the family is/has gone through.

Will the names of the families and their information be used for any other purpose?
There may come a time when we will ask to use the names/stories to talk about on the radio or TV or for a newspaper article.THIS IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL AND WILL NOT AFFECT THE DECISION TO HELP THE FAMILY.† We will ask the families for permission beforehand.The reason we need this is to help promote the awareness of Operation Santa.† As Operation Santa becomes more well known, we will receive more nominations and donations to assist more of these families.

Can I remain anonymous in my nomination?
Yes.But we still need your contact information in case we need to ask more questions.

How do you decide which families will receive help?
We try to help as many as possible that are nominated based on our funds and donations that we receive.Since we are college students, we unfortunately cannot afford to donate much out of our own pockets, as much as we would like to.In order to maximize the amount of families to help, we do reach out to other organizations on campus as well as the San Diego community itself when we promote our project on the radio and TV.

How much do you spend on each family?
Much of that depends on the needs of all the families.Of the families we can help, we try to give each child at least one gift (~$20-30).

Do you deliver on Christmas day?
Unfortunately, most of our membersí families do not live in San Diego and need to return home around Christmas time.Our deliveries will occur right after our finals are over (early-mid December).††

If I'm one of the nominated families that you have selected to help, what can I expect on the day of the delivery?
1.† We will call you the day before to confirm the delivery day/time.
2.† Since we are going to multiple houses to deliver the gifts, we will call you again when your house is the next one to deliver to.
3.† We would like to film the delivery for our own personal records.† We will NOT show it outside of our organization if you tell us not to.† Also, after dropping off the gifts, we would like to take a picture with your family and the wrapped gifts.† Again, this is more for our own records and if you do not want the picture published, please let us know.
4.† If you have "Dear Santa" letters written by your children, please have that ready to give to us when we arrive.
5.† If you wouldn't mind, we would like to get a video testimonial from you about what you have gone through and how Operation Santa has helped you.

For Adopters

What steps are involved in adopting a family?
All those adopting a family will be responsible for buying and wrapping the gifts. (our group aims to provide a gift worth at least $20-30 per person).† However, you DO also have the option of:
1. Contacting the family personally to get their wishlist
2. Personally delivering the gifts to the family (this can also include providing a dinner, Christmas tree and ornaments in addition to gifts)

You will select which steps you want to be involved in when you submit your application online to adopt a family.

What're the chances I will be able to adopt a family?
Virtually 100% as we normally get more nominations than we have people who can help them.

When do we have to deliver the gifts by?
Please aim to deliver the gifts by December 24th.† Coordinate with the family on when would be convenient for them.

Can we get reimbursed for any of our expenses?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide reimbursements.† Our own funds are tied up with helping other families and are completely used up by the end.† By adopting a family(s) and financially supporting them on your own, you are reaching out to a family that we would not have been able to assist because of insufficient funds to help all nominations we receive.

Do we get to select the family to help or do you assign us a family?
To simplify the process, we will assign a family to you.† When you fill out the form in the "Adopt-a-family" page, you will be able to indicate any preferences in the type of family you would like to help (e.g. the size of the family, # of families to help, the types of hardships experienced by the family, etc).† We CANNOT guarantee that you will get the type of family you want to help.We will attempt to accommodate at least the size of the family and will confirm with you whether you would like to adopt the family we assign to you.

When will I be given my family assignment?
If you signup to adopt a family on our website before November 18th, you will have to wait until November 20th.† Otherwise, you should hear from us within 24-48 hours.

If we choose to personally deliver the gifts, do we have to do anything else afterwards?
We would appreciate any feedback from your experience and may post it on our site under the testimonial section.† Also, if you were able to take a picture with the family during the delivery, we would LOVE to get a copy to archive for our records.†

For Donors

What types of donations do you accept?
We accept monetary and non-monetary donations.

Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes.† We will provide you with a receipt of your donation that includes our tax ID number after we've received your donation.

What's the minimum monetary donation I can make?

There is no minimum amount, as every cent helps us towards helping more families!

How do I make a monetary donation?
Go to our donate page and either donate via paypal, or mail us a check/money order at:

Alpha Phi Omega-Rho Pi Chapter, ATTN: Operation Santa
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, MC0077
La Jolla, CA 92093

Why do the checks/money orders have to be made out to "Alpha Phi Omega-Rho Pi Chapter" and not to "Operation Santa"?

Operation Santa is the name of our project and not the name of an official non-profit organization.† Our organization name "Alpha Phi Omega-Rho Pi Chapter" is a non-profit and we will ensure that your donation goes 100% towards Operation Santa.

Do you have a preference of paypal vs money order/check?
We WOULD prefer a money order/check since paypal takes some of the donation for their fees.† However, we understand the convenience of paypal and gladly accept any paypal donations!

What non-monetary donations do you accept?
We accept games, toys, electronics or food as non-monetary donations.

Do the non-monetary donations have to be new?
Not necessarily.† We obviously would prefer a new conditioned item, however, we will accept "like-new" and "gently used" items for games/toys/electronics.† For food, it MUST be non-perishable and unopened.

How do I give you my non-monetary donation?
1.† You may mail it to us.† Please mail all NON-monetary donations to:

We will provide an address at a later date.

2.† You may drop it off at UCSD during one of our weekly meetings.† Our meetings normally take place between 5-7pm on a Sunday, but sometimes will be changed to a Monday or Tuesday from 7-8pm.† We will provide you the location on campus when you let us know which day works for you.† We will also provide you with a phone number of a contact person in case you have trouble finding the location.†

Will I be reimbursed for my shipping fees to mail you the donation?
Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to reimburse donors for mailing in their donation.† While we appreciate all donations the public would be willing to give us, we have to use our funds strictly for the families that need help.†