The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha are looking to drive hunger out of Oxford.
Lambda Chi Alpha’s 14th North American Food Drive will make its first appearance since the early 1990s at Miami University Nov. 3-10.
According to junior Cameron Berner, chair of the food drive, Lambda Chi Alpha was re-colonized on Miami’s campus in October 2006, after membership in the 1990s got so small the brothers at the time decided to end the fraternity when they graduated.
“They just wanted to give us a couple years off and then a chance to restart so that we could go back to being one of the larger fraternities on campus,” Berner said.
The North American Food Drive is the international philanthropy for Lambda Chi Alpha, but this will be the Miami chapter’s first time participating in it since the re-colonization.
Berner said the food drive for Miami’s chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha will be a challenge because the undergraduate brothers have never done this before.
“It’s different for us because we have no idea what we’re doing, but we’re still trying to make something great out of it,” Berner said.
The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha and interested participants will be at the Hub from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 7 collecting food, talking about the need for food in the community and answering questions.
According to Berner, Lambda Chi Alpha will be donating all of their food collection to the Oxford Community Choice Pantry, which was chosen in conjunction with the Office of Community Engagement and Service Learning.
“We chose that food bank because it is . . . in Oxford and we want to give back to our immediate surroundings and because . . . it is new, just like we are, so we identify with the fact that it’s just starting out,” Berner said.
According to Berner, all chapters and colonies of Lambda Chi Alpha donate the food they collect to a food bank or pantry that is close to their campus.
Berner said that Lambda Chi Alpha’s greatest hope is to create awareness about the need for food in the community. He added that they also want to raise food to make a positive difference.
“Hunger is such a basic need, but at the same time it is so overwhelming,” Berner said.
Also as a chapter, Lambda Chi Alpha decided to get other organizations on campus involved in the food drive, including the football team, volleyball team and president of Associated Student Government (ASG).
“We’re trying to get this joint effort together so that as a community we can move forward against (hunger) in order to help everyone,” Berner said.
In hopes of spreading the word, Lambda Chi Alpha has also put together a campus advertising campaign, including messages like “Spiking Hunger” from the volleyball team, “Tackling Hunger” from the football team, “Vetoing Hunger” from Student Body President Jens SutmÃ¶ller and “Arresting Hunger” as a general message.
The brothers distributed table tents to the dining halls for use the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 4, including “Vetoing Hunger” and “Arresting Hunger.”
Pending approval, the messages from the volleyball and football teams will be distributed around campus later this week as poster advertisements.
“It’s all powerful verbs that show a united front against hunger,” Berner said.
Berner said that he hopes the food drive will unify the campus by acknowledging the fact that Miami students are all privileged, even if there are different levels of privilege for individual students.
“The way it can unify us best is (by) giving us (the) ability to share this wonderful gift that we more or less were born into with people who aren’t so fortunate,” Berner said.
Miami students will have an opportunity to donate food.
In order to make it convenient for students to donate, Berner said that the brothers are trying to get a box in each residence hall and in every department chair’s office for students to donate non-perishable items.
The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha also started volunteering at the Oxford Community Choice Pantry at the beginning of the school year. They try to have at least one member at every session Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
According to Mike Johnson, board member of the Oxford Community Choice Pantry, the items the pantry needs most are cereal, canned fruit, spaghetti noodles and sauce, and combination foods such as Hamburger Helper.
He said that the pantry opened July 9 and operates like a small grocery store, adding that students and community residents have made a tremendous response to the pantry.
“We depend on food donations from the community and from the students,” Johnson said.
In addition to Lambda Chi Alpha’s drive, Hunger Awareness Week will take place for the first time at Miami this year, according to Ariel Klingaman, campus and community collaboration leader in the Office of Community Engagement and Service Learning.
Klingaman said that the office is trying to expand from its Pledge-A-Meal event to raise more awareness about hunger issues.
Pledge-A-Meal has been going on since 1999 and will take place this year from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4.
According to Klingaman, there will be student volunteers in the dining halls collecting pledges, allowing students to donate one meal from their meal plan. The pledges will be collected Nov. 13 and the monetary equivalent will be distributed to food banks or pantries in Oxford, Hamilton and Cincinnati.
Klingaman said Hunger Awareness Week would help raise more awareness for hunger and pull in more volunteers to reach more people.
“We want people not just to pledge one meal but to also consider where this money is going or what the bigger issue is,” Klingaman said. “Instead of just having a little impact we hope that it helps sparks interest and awareness of these issues.”
Berner said that Hunger Awareness Week and the North American Food Drive both work toward the same goal.
“We’re both working for the same cause so we are attempting to bolster them together in order to . . . have a larger outcome,” Berner said.