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Volume 68, Issue 161, Wednesday, July 30, 2003


HAO campaigns for underprivileged kids

By Karen Klucznic
The Daily Cougar

In an effort to help underprivileged Houston area children with school supplies, the Houston Alumni Organization is holding its 13th Annual Operation School Supplies Campaign.

The event, which kicked off this month, partners HAO with various local businesses including Coca-Cola, KRIV-TV, H-E-B, KTXH-TV and the United Way. It was originally developed as a community service program benefiting those families unable to afford necessary supplies for their children.

Last year's campaign alone raised $126,000 in supplies and this year, HAO hopes to exceed the $150,000 mark with proceeds going toward the purchase of rulers with the UH name and contact information. 

"The Houston Alumni Organization and UH are proud to be a part of this effort that gives something back to children's education," HAO Associate Director of Programs Tram Chau said. "This year we will be assisting 180 schools in 24 districts."

During the campaign, the public is encouraged to help by purchasing Coca-Cola products at H-E-B grocery stores or by making cash donations through special campaign coupons at the H-E-B checkouts. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. not only donates $25,000 to the campaign, but an additional percentage is also contributed for every dollar spent on its products. 

Other avenues for donations, in $25 and $100 increments, include the sponsor-a-district or sponsor-a-school programs, specifically designed for individuals or organizations wanting to help.

For UH faculty and employees wishing to make a contribution, an incentive contest has been formed. The department that donates the most money toward the ruler project wins a free lunch for 15. Prizes will also be awarded to the runners-up.

Though cash donations are always appreciated, new school supplies such as notebooks, pens and pencils are in great demand. There are several designated drop-off areas available throughout the campaign. The public can make drops at local H-E-B stores Aug. 7. For those interested in baseball, supplies will be accepted Aug. 8-10 at Minute Maid Park prior to the Astros game, in exchange for a ticket to receive a free 2-liter Coke at an H-E-B store.

The campaign winds up Aug. 18 when the school districts involved arrive to pick up their supplies. Until then, there is much work to be done and HAO encourages students to help by either making donations or volunteering on the drop-off days to help collect supplies. 

"We at the University of Houston are in the education business and we see this effort as a natural extension of our mission and duty to the city of Houston," Chau said. "This is a great opportunity to ensure that students start the school year off with basic tools needed to pursue their education."

For more information about making a donation and volunteer opportunities, contact Chau at 713-743-9550 or visit

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