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Sigma Alpha Epsilon rallies for Operation Warm program

The SAE Fraternity Lawn hosted the spikeball tournament
The SAE Fraternity Lawn hosted the spikeball tournament

This weekend, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at UNH held a fundraiser to help raise money for the Durham Fire Department. The fire department plans on using the funds raised by the fraternity to support the Operation Warm program. This project is a relatively new venture for the representatives of the Durham, Lee and Madbury Professional Firefighters Association.

 According to the Professional Firefighters website, over 42,000 children in New Hampshire live in poverty. New Hampshire is notorious for having winters that are brutally cold, even when you’re properly dressed.

Founded in 2002, Operation Warm is a program that has nationwide support and is designed to help children in hopes of contesting an aspect of childhood poverty that is a disappointing reality for some children. The reality is that not all children have proper winter clothing. 

The fraternity held a Spikeball tournament as their fundraiser. They chose the game because it is currently popular among the college population, and can become quite competitive. There are two people per team and it is played two versus two, with a hula hoop sized Spikeball net placed between the teams. The game starts when a player serves the ball down onto the net so it bounces back up to their opponents. The team has up to three hits, similar to volleyball, in order to control the ball and bounce it back off the net. There’s also no boundaries, and players can move or hit the ball anywhere. Points are scored when the ball hits the rim or bounces more than once on the net. 

According to Sarah Johnston, one of the individuals in charge of the fundraiser, they hoped that all their efforts in promoting the fundraiser, whether it was through social media or through flyers, would raise a lot of money for the beneficial program. 

“We’re hoping to raise around $500 or $600 today,” Johnston said.

Johnston went on to talk about UNH students’ initiative in getting involved with the program. She mentioned a few fraternities and sororities coming to help raise money. 

“Everyone here is fully aware of the huge impact that Operation Warm can have in our community and those around us,” Johnston said.

The jackets cost $34 and are fully paid for by donations given to Operation Warm. The project’s official website claims that 97 cents of every dollar goes directly toward the coats and the remaining three cents go toward any overhead expenses that are necessary for growing and sustaining the project. 

The project aims to provide coats to children in the sixth grade and younger, although the Professional Firefighters Association is willing to pay for any coats needed above the available sizes. However, this would need to be done outside of the Operation Warm program. 

Donations can be made online, or at any of the fundraising events. Some tips for raising the money on your own are to cut back on that daily cup of coffee at your local coffee shop and stick to making some at home, putting away a dollar or two a day, and skipping out on all those random impulse buys that end up being a waste of money in the end.

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