TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — After University of Alabama classes unexpectedly moved online due to COVID-19, and students left campus for the remainder of the semester, many of the University’s fraternity and sorority houses were left stocked with food and supplies.
To ensure the food and supplies went to good use during this time of crisis, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, in conjunction with the University’s Center for Service and Leadership, arranged for the perishable and non-perishable food, paper products, toiletries and cleaning supplies from several Greek houses to be donated to local organizations.
“There is a huge need in Tuscaloosa right now for many families in our community,” said Dr. Kat Gillan, senior director of operations for Fraternity and Sorority Life. “The Greek organizations stepped up to meet some of those needs.”
So far, the West Alabama Food Bank has received 4,642 pounds of food from 10 Greek houses, and arrangements have been made for the food bank to continue pick-ups from five more houses.
“This additional food is a great blessing, especially during this time,” said Jean Rykaczewski, executive director of the West Alabama Food Bank, which is serving a larger population due to the crisis. The donation will feed approximately 100 families.
Greek house food donations have also been made to the city and county boards of education, to be used for student meals, as well as to the City of Tuscaloosa Fire Department.
“It is imperative that The University of Alabama continues to serve our community in every way possible during this uncertain time,” said Courtney Thomas, director of the Center for Service and Leadership. “Active and engaged citizenship looks a little different right now but the need is strong.”
This is not the first time the UA fraternity and sorority community has come together to support Tuscaloosa in a time of crisis. In 2011, UA Greek Relief, a student-led initiative, distributed more than 52,000 meals to victims and volunteers following the April 27 tornadoes.
“Service is a key component of the Greek experience,” Gillan said. “When presented with the opportunity to give back to our local community in a time of need, UA fraternities and sororities stand ready to assist.”
For information about supporting the West Alabama Food Bank, visit westalabamafoodbank.org.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.