It may look like fall on the Illinois State University campus, but Santa is hard at work at ISU—Operation Santa, that is.

The goal of Operation Santa is to sew, stuff, pack, and ship handmade Christmas stockings to members of the United States military who are serving overseas. The Operation Santa campaign at ISU is administered by Fell Hall Call to Action, a School of Communication initiative in which communication students are encouraged to become active and serve citizens of their community by giving back to American troops during the holiday season. Patricia Franz (, Administrative Clerk for the School of Communication, has overseen the project for nine years with assistance from graduate students. This year Haley Palmer ( and Jorgi Henson-Miller ( are the graduate student leaders of Operation Santa. “I appreciate the service that the members of the military devote to our country,” said Palmer, “And it’s an honor to do what I can to send a little piece of home to them.”

Students from the ISU Department of Family and Consumer Sciences have joined the campaign this year. Student members of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Association volunteered to sew many of the stockings that will be needed. “This project could not succeed without the hard work of the ISU and Bloomington/Normal communities,” said Franz. “Each year I am more impressed and grateful for their efforts.”

Everyone is welcome to participate by donating travel-size items for the stockings or making a financial contribution to cover the cost of mailing the stockings. Designated collection boxes for items are located throughout Fell Hall. Other drop off locations are:

Bloomington Fire Stations, Bloomington, IL

Brad Barker Honda, Bloomington, IL

Windjammer Lounge, Bloomington, IL

YWCA, Bloomington, at the back door

Westside Liquors, Morris, IL

ARC, Normal, IL

Landmark Dental, Normal, IL

Normal Fire Stations, Normal, IL

Normal Public Library, Normal, IL

Among the most desired items are boot bands, USB drives, and hot sauce in plastic (not bottles) packages! Items needed include: individually wrapped hard candy, chewing gum/breath mints, instant hot cocoa, computer games/DVD movies, deodorant (solid), individual drink mixes, foot powder (travel size), small game books, granola bars, hand wipes, sticks of jerky, lip balm, Rice Krispy treats, snack size bags, black athletic socks, pocket packs of tissues, toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, and individually wrapped twizzlers.

Shipping expenses have totaled more than $20,000 in past years, so every dollar helps. Checks may be made payable to Operation Santa and mailed to P.O. Box 1975, Bloomington, IL 61702.

The hardworking ISU contingent will be collecting donations at both the Normal Community and Normal West high school football games on October 13 and at the University High School football game on October 20.

Questions about how to help may be directed to Franz, Palmer, or Henson-Miller. Franz is available by phone at 309-530-1525.