ESU Greeks Fundraise for Community, with a $7,500 Goal
Rachel Lees writes down her goals every semester. This fall, she picked up her pen and jotted down what she considers her most ambitious challenge to date.
“Raise $7,500 to provide complete Thanksgiving dinners for families in need in Monroe County,” is what is written in the planner that she carries every day.
She started her list of semester goals when she became president of Alpha Sigma Tau at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania two years ago. She made a conscious decision to set goals that would have a positive impact on her life, the sorority, and the community.
At the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester, Lees, now a senior majoring in psychology, knew she wanted to spend her time at ESU making a difference. She just needed help getting started. Help came in the form of an e-mail from Linda Van Meter, Ph.D., director of counseling and psychological services at ESU and a dedicated volunteer for the Salvation Army of Monroe County.
Dr. Van Meter reached out to Lees to ask if Greek Life would consider partnering with the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army to raise funds to provide turkeys for the less fortunate population of Monroe County.
Van Meter went on to explain that while the Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg starts fundraising early in order to generate enough food for distribution between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they discovered that the price on turkeys this year skyrocketed and they were considering cutting back completely.
Lees beamed at the screen, knowing this was it. The ESU Greeks would have no intention of letting that happen.
“I immediately thought ‘this is the opportunity,’” she said. “This is how we are going to make a positive impact on the community and inspire other Warriors to do their part.”
To reach her goal, Lees knew she needed her team behind her. What began with asking each individual sister of Alpha Sigma Tau for a donation, became a philanthropic project for the entire Greek community at ESU.
“We all wanted to do more,” she said. “Most of us know what it’s like to look forward to getting together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, and enjoy a meal complete with turkey and all the fixings. We want to get a Thanksgiving meal in front of as many people we can this November.”
With over 300 Greeks teaming up to help Lees reach her goal, Project Turkey was born.
Fundraising efforts are in full stride as the Greeks continue to work on reaching their grand total $7,500. They launched the campaign at the beginning of football season and they have set up tables at every home game, created a GoFundMe web page and are in the midst of planning several fundraising events, including an Anti-Talent Show, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 21 from 7- 9 p.m. in Abeloff Center for Performing Arts.
“There are so many people less fortunate than we are,” Lees said. “This is our chance to give back to a community that does so much for us.”
The Salvation Army and Project Turkey plan to accept donations through November 16. On November 19, the Greeks will proudly stand among the Salvation Army volunteers and help them hand out the turkeys to the families in Monroe County.
“Being part of a Greek organization teaches you the importance of community,” Lees said. “It teaches you to help others, and we want to use that ability to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Lees will also be proud to add the accomplishment of this goal to her planner, too.