Fraternity spreads holiday cheer to children


By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, December 4, 2011 – The Daily 49er

Zeta Beta Tau fraternity members visited first-graders on Friday with promises to fulfill their Christmas wishes by helping them write letters to Santa Claus.

Zeta Beta Tau’s Santa’s Little Helpers is a philanthropy event created for McKinley Elementary students. Because the elementary school is located in a low-income district, many children in the area might not receive gifts this Christmas season.

About 30 Zeta Beta Tau members collaborated with 70 members from various Cal State Long Beach sororities, such as Alpha Phi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Sigma Kappa and Tri Delta.

Several sororities donated money to add to Zeta Beta Tau’s donation to pay for gifts for the students.

The participants surprised the first-graders with cards and crafts during the students’ last hour of class on Friday. The fraternity and sorority members helped approximately 60 first-graders decorate cards with pictures of gifts they would like.

“Teachers and faculty were touched,” Zeta Beta Tau member Will Phelps said. “Some were almost brought to tears at the sentiment of the event.”

The Greek participants will take each student’s wish list and buy one item for each first-grader, with a $15 cap.

The ZBT brothers and various sorority members will shop for the gifts this week.

“It’s nice to step out of the college mentality and interact with these kids,” ZBT member Daniel Shimmura said. “It reminds me of how I used to get so excited for Christmas when I was that age.”

On Dec. 9, the Greek members will return to the school with a surprise — Santa Claus. ZBT member Andrew Severin will dress up in the red suit, along with sorority and fraternity participants, to give the students presents.


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