OSU's Kyle Jeffers Leads Operation Santa

Nov. 8, 2006

Courtesy: Oregon State Sports Information

Release: 11/07/2006

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Kyle Jeffers, a senior who is the starting center on the Oregon State men's basketball team, has more on his mind than just the start of hoops season. He is heavily involved in the OSU community and is leading the university's effort for 'Operation Santa,' a project designed to send care packages to Marines stationed in Iraq for the holidays.

Jeffers (Santa Rosa, Calif./Montgomery HS) is a member of OSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and is the co-chair of the university's Student Alumni Association. He has used his influence to help get those groups involved in the Operation Santa effort.

Operation Santa will send filled stockings and gifts to 10 platoons of Marines stationed in Iraq later this month. Jeffers and others have been working on getting donations from the local community, and has the rest of the Pac-10 SAAC programs are doing the same thing. The other nine Pac-10 schools will be sending what they have collected to Corvallis in a couple of weeks.

Jeffers' group will still be seeking donations up until their packing party on Thursday, Nov. 16. A drop-off point in Gill Coliseum is Linda Johnson's office (room 132D). Questions can be directed to operationsanta@marinecorpsmoms.com.

Some of the food items that Operation Santa hopes to receive are: packaged cookies, candies, beef jerky/pepperoni, canned meats, lifesavers, hot chocolate mix, tea mix, Gatorade mix, fruit snacks and crackers.

Other requested items include: packets of Tylenol and cough drops, paperback books, DVDs, CDs, word game books, frisbees, nerf balls, handwarmers, lightweight knit gloves, batteries, lip balm, nail clippers, razors and shaving cream.

Monetary donations are also appreciated.

In addition to Operation Santa, Jeffers is also involved with planning this weekend's Homecoming festivities and he has a shoe recycling program in the works with Nike, which will take old sneakers and convert them to things like turf fields and tracks.

Jeffers took a few minutes to explain his involvement with Operation Santa.

Q: How did this project get started?
A: 'This was originally a project that my girlfriend started two years ago. She got involved with it somehow and I didn't help at all at first. She helped 600 Marines by herself for the most part. Last year one of her co-workers took it on because her son was a Marine. I helped out with that by getting SAAC and the Student Alumni Association, the O-Stater Club, involved.'

Q: How did you become the lead person on this project this year?
A: 'I was really just going to help out with it like I did last year. Then I found that the person wasn't going to do it again. I introduced the project to SAAC here and we all decided to take it on. So that's how I got involved. I became lead on it but SAAC has helped me a lot on it.'

Q: Why did you want to do this?
A: 'I just thought it would be cool to do something. I wanted to get a joint effort with the Pac-10 going. I thought it would be good to do something that hadn't been done before, and that I could be the first person to head up such a project and bring all the SAACs together. Hopefully we'll continue to do projects together for years to come.'

Q: How have the other Pac-10 schools responded to this?
A: 'They all feel like it's a good project. They've been asking questions and trying to get things donated. They've been a huge help and hopefully they'll all get their things here on time.'

Q: How are you balancing all of your extra-curricular activities in addition to schoolwork and basketball?
'It's just time management. There's enough time in the day to get certain things done, but there's not enough time to get everything done. You go day-by-day and prioritize. A lot of the Operation Santa planning is done and I can focus right now on Homecoming. The shoe project isn't too much of a big deal right now. Schoolwork isn't too hard to stay on top of. Basketball, you have to be there and ready to go. You just have to stay focused and stay in tune with what needs to be done.'

Q: How do you feel about the start of basketball season?
A: 'I'm very excited. The team is coming together. Each practice we're looking better. I'm definitely ready to get the season started. I can't believe it's here. I'm ready to put it together and see how we respond. I think we're more prepared mentally for this season than we were last year. Guys are going hard and are doing the best they can. When games start to come around, we just need to put it together and continue to improve.'

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