My Experience with Lambda Chi Alpha and Feeding America by Austin Craft

November 1, 2013
by Austin Craft

I am a junior Public Relations major and a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha's Iota-Alpha chapter at Ball State University and I have a unique opportunity. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I get to go work at our International Headquarters in Indianapolis. I have the privilege of not only working with my fellow undergraduate brothers at Ball State but with undergraduates across the country as well as with the Professional Staff at Lambda Chi Headquarters.

I have learned a lot from being a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha. The most important thing I have learned, are the seven core values, and it's encouraging to see that the members of the professional staff continue to put an importance on those values, even after they have completed their undergraduate experience. Lambda Chi Alpha teaches seven core valuesthat all brothers are to live by…

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Service & Stewardship
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

This past month, those values were put to the test as the professional staff and I volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank located in Indianapolis. Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana is a 300,000 square foot facility that stores, sorts and distributes food to those in need donations from over 400 companies and organizations as well as donations from hundreds of individuals. Through these donations, Gleaners is able to help reduce hunger in 21 countiesin Indiana. Because of their size and magnitude, they are constantly seeking volunteers. As a staff, we sported orange Feeding America shirts and went to work.

It was announced this past summer at the STEAD Leadership Conference in Memphis, TN that Lambda Chi Alpha was going to be partnering with Feeding America. This partnership enables us as undergraduates to work toward a relevant cause and to benefit our local community. Feeding America also plans to publicize events held by the chapters on it's social media outlets as well as through their national network of 202 food banks in order to increase the amount of food collected.

During this staff service day, we packed and swept one of the warehouses many refrigerated storage rooms. We also helped to organize, load and weigh skids full of food based on their category (frozen, bakery, dairy etc.)

Although it was cold, it was a good feeling to be volunteering and knowing that our efforts were going to directly help the community. It was an overwhelming feeling seeing the rows of food stored at Gleaners, but there was also a satisfied feeling knowing that each skid we packed full of food was going to be taken to a hunger bank in one of the counties that needed it. It humbled and made me feel grateful for what I have. Ultimately it helped me further realize the level of need in my community.

Service & Stewardship is one of the core values that I sometimes overlook, one that is sometimes forgotten. As an undergraduate, I understand that. Volunteering at Gleaners has reminded me though how important service & stewardship is. While going and serving the community, you can have one of two approaches. You can go and just do it to complete your service hours, which in itself honorable. If that's you, then okay. That's not what service is all about though. Service is about going out there with the right attitude and enjoying the time you get to spend with your brothers and knowing that you are helping someone else in the process.

Going in with that approach to Gleaners, I can honestly say I had a great time. It was a time where I got to know the professional staff in an environment outside of work. It was a time where I got to find out what they were like as people. Whether we were stacking cans, sorting food or even just sweeping the floors I knew that no matter what, we were ultimately helping to feed those in need.

Special thanks to Austin for his volunteer efforts and for contributing this post.

Tags: Volunteer , Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.

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