Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and the Office of Student Programs at Virginia Tech are giving students the chance to reach out to the local community with Flex Out Hunger, a program that allows them to donate money from their dining plans to those in need.
Contributions to Flex Out Hunger will help support the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP), located in Christiansburg, Va. Students can make donations outside the various Student Programs dining centers April 30 to May 2 at tables staffed by members of SAE.
Many students have a balance remaining on their dining plans at the end of the spring semester, and each year the Flex Out Hunger program gives them the opportunity to donate that money to help those in need.
There was concern about whether the program would receive enough support this year, in light of the tragic events that took place on the Virginia Tech campus on Monday, April 16; however, both SAE and Student Programs decided it would be best to continue with the event as planned.
"We felt that it was important to go on with the philanthropy to show that the heinous acts of violence that occurred that day will not break the spirit of goodwill that has always guided our community," said Daniel Sheehan of Richmond, Va., SAE director of philanthropy and senior English major in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. "The MCEAP counts on the donations given by Tech students every year, and we are not going to deny Tech students the opportunity to make a real difference in the community. I hope my fellow students take this opportunity to show ourselves, the community and the entire nation that we are carrying on, we are prevailing."
MCEAP provides emergency assistance to individuals and families who are temporarily unable to provide for themselves. The organization coordinates with local social service agencies and offers food, clothing, a furniture bank, and assistance to help residents of Montgomery County who must deal with urgent financial situations. Student contributions from Flex Out Hunger will help stock MCEAP shelves with food.
The success of Flex Out Hunger depends heavily on support it receives from its sponsors. This year’s sponsoring organizations include the Village at Blacksburg, Coca-Cola, and Sharkey’s Bar and Grill in downtown Blacksburg.
"Through the generosity of the students of Virginia Tech, we have raised upwards of $60,000 over the last six years for those in need in the Blacksburg area," said Sheehan. "We feel that we have been given much, and this is a great opportunity to give back to our community."