Giving back this holiday season

People across the nation looked towards food banks to help provide food for their families this Thanksgiving holiday. Many organizations neededextra resourcesto help supply the uptick in demand brought on by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Musse YimerVirginia Tech ’20 decided to take action and help fill the need in his community this Thanksgiving. “I posted my idea on Facebook, made a few calls and before I knew it,we had donated $20,000 worth of food.” 

The idea sparked from a conversation Yimer had with his brothers. “I was sitting with a bunch of brothers and we were talking about donating to a homeless shelter,” said Yimer.After posting my idea on Facebook, we began planning the logistics over the weekend.

After planning the logistics and getting word out to students of Virginia Tech, Yimersays the campaign was a success. All together, we hosted threeseparate drives. The first drive we hosted, people donated pre-packaged meals from the school’s cafeteria and we donated them to low-income senior communityDuring the second drive, we donated three full carloads of food to a local food bank. With the final drive, we took frozen meats, vegetables and bread to a local shelter in a nearby community.

However,Yimer and the brothers of Virginia Zeta didn’t stop there. They continued accepting donations after the Thanksgiving holiday and were turned away from one organization. “After the holiday, some brothers and I took more food to the shelter. Once we got there, they turned us away. Since we had donated so much food, their storage space was at capacity. I couldn’t believe we had donated so much food to an organization that they had to turn away another donation worth $1,250.” 

Still, Yimer plans to continue to donate more throughout the holiday season. “We just donated 720 granola bars to a local elementary school for their backpack program. The program allows children whose family may not have the financial resources, to pack a backpack full of food to take home over the weekend. Even after donating the granola bars, I still have between $6-7,000 worth of food to donate.”

Yimer hopes to continue the food drive for the community next holiday season and increase the amount of money raised. “Since we are in the midst of Covid-19, I was limited to how I asked people to donate due to social distancing rules. We sent emails out to students asking them to donate their unused dining dollars to the campaign. My hope is for next year, I can ask people in-person to donate to the cause which in return will yield a higher donation amount.

By hosting the food drive, Yimer hopes to break the stereotype that fraternities have in the community. “Not only in the Blacksburg area but other college towns across America, there are stereotypes of fraternities and the relationship they have with the community. Movies have painted a bad picture of fraternities and I hope that by showcasing The Great Joy of Serving Others, we can break the stereotypes and build relationships in the community.”

To view a local new story on Brother Yimer and his efforts, click here

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