It seems like almost an impossible feat—delivering bags for food donations to 10,000 homes in one Sunday and then picking them all up the next Sunday. But, Lambda Chi Alpha members do it every year to help those in need, even trying to beat the amount collected by the fraternity the year before.
Elio Daci, 20, a junior from Quincy majoring in aerospace engineering, says it's his second year participating in Friendly House’s food drive with the fraternity, which began helping with the event 21 years ago by distributing the bags on foot, door-to-door in Worcester and Shrewsbury.
Lambda Chi Alpha, along with Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis’s office, collected more than 80,000 pounds in donated food items and Thanksgiving turkeys that were distributed by Friendly House of Worcester to over 1,000 families. Around 60 members of LCA, almost the entire fraternity, help with the event, along with local businesses, organizations, and volunteers. Inmates from the Sheriff’s Community Service Program help unload truckloads of donations. The sheriff’s office also collected and donated hundreds of winter coats.
“We’re in the community for four years and it is engrained in all of us to give back,” Daci says. “This is one way we can give back where there is clearly a need. It is a good feeling knowing people are walking out of here today with a Thanksgiving meal who otherwise wouldn’t have one. We may not be changing the world, but we’re making a difference for a family.”
Aaron Pepin, 21, a senior from Hollis, N.H. majoring in mechanical engineering, has helped with the event with his fraternity every year he has attended WPI.
“We [college students] are under a crazy microscope in today’s society, especially when you’re in a fraternity,” Pepin says. “This is absolutely incredible and an opportunity to prove we are not Animal House. One of my favorite days of the year is to come and see this. It can make all the difference to a family, especially during the holiday season, when they are trying to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table. It’s one less thing for them to worry about.”
Charles Hill, 21, a senior from Groton majoring in biomedical engineering, is president of Lambda Chi Alpha. This is his fourth year helping with the food drive.
“The biggest thing we love in the house is to try to beat each year’s record,” Hill says. “Each year we come here, there is not quite enough food and each year we try to put in the effort to collect more food and help more families. You’ll never get to the point where you can feed everyone, but we’re trying to improve and get closer and closer.”
WPI Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members also help with distributing bags, he says, and he believes more was collected this year than last year. Friendly House will calculate the final amount Dec. 10, he says.
“WPI proves itself in helping out the community,” Hill adds. “When you study here, you put in a lot of time developing yourself and part of that is branching out from the WPI ‘bubble on the hill.’”
Susan Daly, administrative assistant at Friendly House, says distribution started Monday and continued through 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“Every year the need is huge,” she says. “A lot of families only get enough food stamps for regular food for the month and have to choose between purchasing a Thanksgiving meal or food for the family that month. Without WPI, the sheriff’s office, all the people who do food drives and tons of volunteers, Friendly House would never be able to even think about doing this with only the handful of people we have.”
Sheriff Evangelidis says it is always a pleasure to partner with WPI's Lambda Chi Alpha and Friendly House for the event each year.
“With the holiday season upon us," he says, "it is extremely important to do all we can to help those who may be less fortunate.”
- By Paula Owen