Kappa Alpha and Chi Omega hold toy drive for Cook Children’s

Yareli Lora

Kaleb Collins, marketing sophomore, sharing informational flyers about the Kappa Alpha and Chi Omega Toys for Cook's booth in Clark Student Center on Dec 6. Photo by Bridget Reilly
Kaleb Collins, marketing sophomore, sharing informational flyers about the Kappa Alpha and Chi Omega Toys for Cook’s booth in Clark Student Center on Dec 6. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Members of Kappa Alpha Order and Chi Omega are hosting a toy drive for the patients of Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Kaleb Collins, marketing sophomore who initiated Kappa Alpha in the fall, moved up to the number four officer position as head of recruitment shortly after he joined.

Collins said, “I was a freshman doing absolutely nothing except just working all the time, so I decided to get involved and figured rushing was the best way and found Kappa Alpha.”

Collins said that Kappa Alpha has given him many opportunities to grow as an individual and to share ideas. One of those ideas being Toys for Cook’s, a toy drive for the patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center.

Collins said, “I’ve wanted to do it since my sophomore year of high school but I could never get enough going with it, so I came up the with the idea a couple of weeks ago and brought it up to my fraternity and now I’ve been working my butt off.”

This will be the first year that Kappa Alpha will be advocating for Cook Children’s Medical Center by holding a toy drive.  Alongside Kappa Alpha, members from Chi Omega will assist with the toy drive. Collins sought Chi Omega as the appropriate choice for this particular drive because they work with the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Summer Hutchinson, nursing senior and Chi Omega president, said, “We coordinate with a local chapter for make-a-wish and so we raise money during make-a-wish week which we have every spring, right around March, and we raise right around $12,000 and then we contact the local chapter of Make-A-Wish and let us know if they do have a kid that needs a wish granted, but if not we just donate the money to the foundation.”

The Make-A-Wish foundation is a non-profit organization that allows eligible patients of ages between 3-17, with a life-threatening medical condition to make a wish. 

Hutchinson said, “Kaleb was actually our wish kid, so helping out with Toys for Cook’s just really goes hand in hand with our Make-A-Wish philanthropy. This is super close to our hearts.”

Collins believed that Toys for Cook’s would mean a great deal to the members of Chi Omega.

“Chi Omega did my Make-A-Wish here, so I knew their philanthropy was Make-A-Wish. When I was trying to think of ways to get a sorority involved, I thought Cook Children’s has lots of cancer patients there — and that was my hospital — so I thought that would be a pretty neat way to connect with theirs,” Collins said.

Every year, Kappa Alpha comes up with ideas for philanthropy. Collins chose Toys for Cook’s rather than Toys for Tots as their philanthropy.

Collins said, “Helping your community is wonderful but I wanted to go a little above and beyond because I know what it felt like to be in the hospital, not having a whole lot and that sort of thing and so that’s where the idea came from.”

In May of 2007, Collins was 14-years-old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. In February of 2008, he completed chemotherapy.

Collins said, “I was diagnosed when I was already into my fourth grade year and missed almost all of my fifth grade year until the last few months, like late February.”

At a young age, Collins had to adapt to a new lifestyle.

“It was always different because I was always the athletic kid and so it was definitely a lifestyle change. It teaches you a lot,” Collins said.

Collins had to have an implant inserted into his right leg. The implant has restricted Collins from doing anything strenuous because of the possible risk of shattering the implant. 

“I’ve had a total of six surgeries. I have an implant that goes all the way up almost to my hip and down to my tibia,” Collins said. “I was a baseball enthusiast, that was my sport so I had to go from playing that every day of my life to giving it up and not being able to run anymore, so it was definitely a big change.”

Collins had a big support system along his side, such as his family and community. Collins attended Archer ISD until he decided to transfer schools. He transferred to Old High going into his eighth grade year because he had came to a realization that Archer ISD did not provide enough for him.

Collins said, “There was a point for me with all my limitations, that a small school just couldn’t provide anything for me, so I figured if I go to a bigger school I would have more opportunities, and I did. I did theater for four years, band for four years, NHS, Pals, I did all that. I was given more opportunities rather than being that kid on the sidelines all the time.”

Collins was treated at Cook Children’s Hospital and wanted to do a toy drive for the patients there, because now being in a fraternity has given him the support from his brothers to help put the drive together.

Collins said, “We traveled every week pretty much for the most part, up to Cook’s for my treatments. The reason this idea came about is because when I was in the hospital, we had people walk around the floors and give out toys and that sort of thing and so that was my goal, was to be able to take a few from Kappa Alpha and a few from Chi Omega to go down there, walk around and handout a few toys to the patients.”

The toy drive began Nov.31 and will continue until Dec.15 — a booth will be set up by the food area in the student center from 11-1 for anyone that wants to stop by and donate a non-wrapped toy. The toys will be taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ft. Worth on Dec. 16.  

“We’ll take them down Dec. 16 and deliver them. It’ll be a fun time,” Collins said.

Kappa Alpha has given Collins an opportunity to work Toys for Cook’s drive with the support from his brothers. Collins has a set goal in mind of how many toys he plans to have donated.

Collins said,“We put down about 100 toys and that’s something I thought about. I put down 300 toys on there I just didn’t know how much support I could get from everyone else outside of these two organizations so I would love to have 300 toys, I would love to take four cars down because we can’t fit them all in three. So that’s really the goal is to take multiple cars down there full of toys.”

He hopes to continue this tradition if the philanthropy event goes well.

Collins stated, “If this is a success, this will be done every year.”