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After months of hard work, the Panhellenic Council’s dream of providing warm winter coats to West Philadelphia school children has become a reality.

Wednesday morning, Panhel members distributed 361 winter coats to students at West Philadelphia’s Drew Charles Elementary School, as part of Operation Warm — Panhel’s largest annual philanthropy event.

This is the second year for the program that partners all of the Panhel sororities with the Operation Warm charity, which works to provide warm coats to children across the country.

“We’ve far surpassed our goal,” said Panhel president and former Daily Pennsylvanian Assignments Editor Alissa Eisenberg, a College senior.

Eisenberg credits the program’s success to a number of changes made this year.

Last year, all money was raised by placing coin jars in the sorority chapter houses. This year, Panhel also mailed letters to potential donors and supporters had the option of donating online through the Panhel Web site.

In addition, Panhel organized a week of events called “Kill the Chill” in the beginning of November, which included a benefit concert, a pizza party and a frozen yogurt event at Sprinkles.

While the goal was to raise $5,000, Panhel raised $6,900, according to Eisenberg.

The funds allowed them to provide winter coats to every member of the student body at Drew, including pre-schoolers in the Head Start program. The money remaining after the coats were purchased was donated to Operation Warm’s national organization.

Last year, Panhel raised $4,600, allowing them to purchase 300 coats.

Another change this year is that all of the donated coats are made of recycled materials, according to Operation Warm Regional Development Director Barbara Loeslein.

She added that the change is part of Operation Warm’s nationwide efforts to become more environmentally friendly.

In response to this initiative, Penn Greeks went into Drew Charles Elementary School during Greek Week to hold an educational program about the benefits of recycling. Afterwards, students were asked to bring plastic bottles to school for recycling, and were told they would receive a coat made out of similar recycled items.

“This allows the students to understand the importance of recycling and what recycling can give you,” said Loeslein, who was very pleased with the success of the program.

“Panhel went above and beyond,” she added.

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