Sorority works to give holiday cheer

By Rachel Scaman

Alpha Sigma Omega Latina sorority has been able to sponsor 39 people within the first three weeks of its annual philanthropy, Angel Tree.

During Angel Tree, sorority members partner with Hope Haven around the holiday season to find sponsors to help fulfill a wish list of someone who is residing at Hope Haven and is not able to afford gifts during Christmas. Hope Haven is a shelter that provides homeless individuals and families with shelter and help.

“We start with finding sponsors for children since our national philanthropy is Child Abuse Prevention,” said Sweyzen Sanchez, sorority philanthropy chair and senior biology major. “Then we start with finding sponsors for mothers or anyone else who needs our help.”

Sanchez said the sorority has asked a majority of Greek life to be involved with Angel Tree.

Members have also reached out to NIU departments and friends and family members. They have also made info cards for anyone who is interested in helping out. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with Angel Tree can contact a member of Alpha Sigma Omega.

“We’re reaching out to the NIU and DeKalb community and asking people to spread the word,” Sanchez said. “Anyone can get involved with this.”

Marycarmen Ruiz, sorority member and junior communicative disorders major, said the gifts on the wish lists are usually items the Hope Haven residents need.

“They usually ask for hygiene products, clothes or books,” Ruiz said. “It’s never anything fancy, so it’s easy for people to donate.”

Ruiz said she contacted Hope Haven a month before the philanthropy started and she received a response right away.

“Right off the bat, Hope Haven gave us a list of children, women and babies who needed to be sponsored,” Sanchez said. “In the past it’s been a hassle, but this year everything was very organized and we’re off to a great start.”

Sandra Arteaga, sorority executive secretary and senior communication major, said it’s important to reach out to the DeKalb community, especially to Hope Haven.

“It’s a haven for so many woman and children who have overcome different issues, and to reach out especially during the holidays it shows that people are out there helping our community,” Arteaga said.

Sanchez said this is the time to focus on making the children’s holiday brighter and to stop being selfish.

“A lot of my sisters are FCNS majors, and we realize that every Christmas kids go without clothes, shoes or a warm jacket,” Sanchez said. “It’s really more about the children than anything.”

Angel Tree will end Dec. 4 when the sponsors drop off their donated gifts to the Holmes Student Center. Ruiz said Dec. 6 is when the gifts will be dropped off at Hope Haven.