Lambda Chi Alpha Food Drive: Three Tons and Counting

By Erika Vichcales | Published

In a single day, the  brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha raised over 6,000 pounds of food during the annual food drive for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. The Michigan Technological University fraternity is also taking donations throughout the next couple of weeks and expects to add another 2,000 pounds by the end of the month.

“This food drive is huge; it’s the main food drive we have during the year, so we rely heavily on it to keep our pantry stocked for the next 12 months,” said Cathy Aten, the volunteer program coordinator for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, which provides a variety of support services for area seniors. “Lambda Chi was great to work with this year, as usual. They take it seriously and work very hard at it. We would be lost without them.”

The North American Food Drive is an international philanthropic event that Lambda Chi Alpha chapters in both the United States and Canada have been doing since 1993. As of last year, the organization has raised over 40 million pounds of food.

“With all the economic problems in the country, particularly in our area, events like this are crucial,” said Lambda Chi Alpha chapter president Alexander Ciesla. “Our food drive helps people in need, most of whom are elderly. The Keweenaw region is particularly brutal during the winter months, making it incredibly difficult to keep the area food pantries stocked.”

Collecting the food is an all-day event for the fraternity brothers, who split into teams of three or four and drive around to assigned areas. The food drive covers Houghton, Hancock, Chassell, South Range, Painesdale, Lake Linden, Atlantic Mine, Calumet, Dodgeville and Dollar Bay.

“The food drive does a couple things for us. The first, of course, is that it provides food for so many needy elderly in our community. Secondly, it helps promote awareness of Little Brothers and what we do,” said Aten. “Some people might know of just one or two services we provide. I believe it also helps the community think about the needs in general in our area. And the fraternity gains even more respect because they coordinate this drive for us and are so successful.”

Local residents fill the paper bags distributed by the brothers with nonperishable food items, then either leave them on their doorstep or deliver to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. The flyers and paper bags go out with the Daily Mining Gazette. People can also donate to the cause year round by taking their donations to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, located in downtown Hancock.

“Knowing that we can completely fill the pantry, even if only once a year, creates a feeling so great, nothing else I have ever taken part in or experienced can rival it,” said Ciesla. “It is the event every year I look forward to more than anything. It's better than Christmas.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.