Greek Councils unite to help homeless youth

First time three councils unite; Women's Center and Arnold Dining center also sponsoring event

By: Michelle Ofelt

Posted: 11/6/09

The Daily Barometer

Three OSU Greek councils are working together for the first time to put on a community service event this Saturday for the Jackson Street Youth Shelter by providing a pre-Thanksgiving meal on campus, giving away a raffle and bringing a local band in for entertainment.

The Unified Greek Council, Inter-Fraternity Council and the Panhellenic Sorority Council are planning the joint community service project. It is their first time collaborating for a philanthropic event. It will also provide a new experience for the Women's Center, which will sponsor a Greek event for the first time. Arnold Dining Center will also sponsor and host the event.

"This event is the perfect opportunity for the councils to unite and build bridges with other student organizations," said Cayla Lopez, a senior in political science and international studies, member of Kappa Delta and Panhellenic VP community service coordinator.

"It's a really great opportunity to see the first Greek-wide service project. It will probably be one of the biggest events we've ever had."

The Greek chapters are sending over 200 volunteers for the event. The IFC alone is bringing at least 100 volunteers. These volunteers will set up and tear down, assist with cooking and serve over 300 clients from the Jackson Street Youth Shelter.

"The residents of the shelter and the staff members are really looking forward to it," said Jennifer Christ, Jackson Street Youth Shelter volunteer coordinator and Albany expansion coordinator. "It will be a great group. We're very thankful to the Greek community for volunteering their time for us."

Greek chapters operate on philanthropic cores that vary from house to house. Each Greek chapter was asked to send at least 10 volunteers. However, some have their entire house signed up for the event.

"Even though each person may have different Greek symbols on their chests, they all have the same warm feeling in their hearts," said Rakan Khaki, IFC service coordinator. "We're all Greek, we're all Oregon State Beavers and we're all human."

The event will include a feast donated from the Greek chapters who voluntarily sacrificed a meal to give food to the event, and from Albertson's and Alpine Bakery. In addition, many of the sorority and fraternity cooks have offered to direct or cook for the charity feast.

"The Greek Community see this as a great opportunity to usurp the stigma behind being a member of a Greek lettered society," Khaki said. "The more positive energy we invest into our Greek community, the more Greeks are inspired to do good things."

Christ is also encouraged by the Greek community's outreach event. She hopes for more visibility of troubles the homeless have in the Corvallis community.

"The Greek community had a great approach to this event," Christ said. "It is much needed and outrageously generous of them to put on a service event for the shelter. It's incredibly important for people to know what is going on in their community."

Guests from the shelter will include shelter residents, shelter volunteers and staff. However, the event is aimed at affecting the homeless youth. These youth are only 10-17 years old and are normally out on the street during the holidays. Since most of the youth are in high school, they are very excited to interact with college students close to their age.

"A lot of homeless youth want to go to college," Christ said. "They want to have the means to do that."

Local band Break As We Fall will perform at the event. The Greek community hopes that the homeless youth will enjoy the music and feel more comfortable. They will also be holding a raffle that includes gift cards to local businesses such as Carmike, Highland Bowl and Fireworks, among many others.

"I think it will be really fun and hopefully the youth can make friends at the event," said Stephanie Smith, a senior in political science and German and member of Kappa Delta. "It not only gives them an occasion to get a wonderful Thanksgiving meal but it will be a good opportunity for them to meet people their own age."