Virginia Tech students encouraged to "Flex Out" hunger by donating excess dining plan money

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 22, 2004 – Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and the Virginia Tech Office of Student Programs will team up to give students an outlet to serve the community with the fourth annual Flex Out Hunger program on May 3-5, 2004.

Students can make contributions from their university meal plans to help support the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP). Members of SAE will staff tables outside of the Student Programs dining centers on May 3-5 where students can make their donations.

"MCEAP provides emergency assistance to individuals and families, who for reasons beyond their control, are temporarily unable to provide for themselves," said MCEAP President Phil Pappas. "MCEAP's assistance is through its food, clothing, and furniture bank, as well as financial assistance for utilities."

Students' contributions will go toward stocking MCEAP's shelves with food. "For every dollar donated, the Office of Student Programs will purchase gift certificates from local grocery stores and provide them to MCEAP." said SAE Philanthropy Chair John Lloyd. "MCEAP will use them to purchase food and other household items on an as-needed basis."

In the past three years, students have contributed nearly $34,000 to the MCEAP. "To donate money from a dining plan, all students have to do is fill out a form and then take the form to a cashier who will deduct the donation from their account," Lloyd said.

SAE started Flex Out Hunger three years ago so that students and the fraternity could help the local area. "The Flex Out Hunger program is one way in which we can better ourselves through community service," Lloyd said.

Student Programs works with SAE to coordinate the program. "We look at it as a way to be involved with student organizations and help them contribute to charity," said Luther Moseley, food production manager at the Depot at Dietrick.

The success of Flex Out Hunger depends heavily on the support it receives from its sponsors. This year's sponsors include Tech Bookstore, Sign-A-Rama©, Woody's Baja Bar and Grill, The Extreme Pita©, Pizza Inn®, Joe's Barber & Styling, Impressions Salon, Red Bull® North America, and Wal-Mart®.

The MCEAP opened in 1975 to provide assistance for disadvantaged people in the Montgomery County community. Since MCEAP opened, it has spent more than $1.9 million, which has helped more than 122,000 individuals.