Urban Santas and Elves Deliver Over 1200 Personalized Presents to Inner City Children

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Urban Humanitarian Projects, a New York based nonprofit organization founded by medical students from St. George's University, hosted their third annual Urban Santa Project this Christmas. Teams of students dressed as Santa and elves delivered presents to children at 19 partner charities.

Urban Santa Project

Seeing the expression on the face of a child’s face when he or she sees Santa walk through the door is simply priceless

Urban Humanitarian Projects (UHP) held its third annual Urban Santa Project (USP) event last week, which involved working with 19 different organizations to deliver personalized Christmas presents to over 1200 children. Urban Santa team, which consists of a Santa Clause and 3-4 elves visited almost every organization during the week of Christmas (including Christmas day) to hand deliver the presents. This year's event was summarized in a short video: http://vimeo.com/34357643
By collecting each child’s name, age, and gender in advance, the team was able to select and wrap appropriate toys for each child. This year’s list of partners included Covenant House, Providence House, Harlem United, Yele Haiti, Operation Haiti Recovery, Palladia Inc, Mary Haven: Center of Hope, Lincoln Hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and several others.
Urban Santa Project 2011 had 7 different Santas and over 25 elves who helped purchase, wrap, and deliver the presents. In the weeks prior to Christmas, UHP team contacted various charitable organizations who serve underprivileged children and complied a list of all over 1200 children. A team of volunteer elves then purchased age and gender appropriate toys for the children. The toys were wrapped and labeled with the children’s name at two Urban Santa workshops, one in New York and the other in New Jersey. Space for wrapping was donated by one of UHP’s advisory board members, Dr. Nilay Shah in New York, and by Homewood Suites in New Jersey.

“Seeing the expression on the face of a child’s face when he or she sees Santa walk through the door is simply priceless,” said Neha Rana, UHP’s project coordinator who helped organize this year’s event.

This year's event was funded mostly by students and faculty at St. George's University, with a major donation from the school's chancellor, Dr. Charles Modica.

Many of the partners for this year’s event were from New York and New Jersey. However, UHP was also able to reach out to children at 5 different orphanages in Haiti through two new partners, Operation Haiti Recovery and Yele Haiti Foundation. Gifts to the children in Haiti were shipped via Amerijet International, who generously sponsored all shipping costs.

Urban Santa Project was founded in 2009 with just 23 children at Covenant House in New York. This was followed by the 2010 event that involved approximately 300 gifts from five organizations in New York and New Jersey. UHP’s event is unique in the sense that it involves a Santa Clause and group of elves visiting the children to hand deliver the presents. This is a very magical experience for the children, who enjoy a visit from Santa and his elves.

Urban Humanitarian Projects (UHP) is a student-run non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization founded by St. George’s University medical students (Grenada, West Indies) completing their medical training in New York City. UHP’s mission - to improve the education, healthcare, and quality of life of the underprivileged – is supported by working with established charities throughout the United States and abroad to make a positive impact in the lives of disadvantaged children and adults. UHP past projects include the annual Urban Santa Project - Christmas day gift delivery, GURUS High School Mentorship Project, and a semi-annual video game tournament fundraiser event which raised over $100,000 for humanitarian projects worldwide. The organization’s tax-exempt fiscal sponsor, FJC, a foundation of philanthropic funds, allows start-up programs to utilize their services to accept donations and operate as a legal entity. FJC maintains the organization’s financial records, assisting in donor relations and all legally-mandated monitoring and reporting. UHP is fully supported by St. George’s University and its administration. http://www.uhp.org


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Santhosh Cherian
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