Greek Week 2021 raises funds for Baldwin Community Food Pantry


Kinsley Alley

The Baker University community donated food and money to the Baldwin City Food Bank for Greek Week.

Supporting one another has been a consistent theme throughout the 2020-2021 school year. This is largely due to the financial challenges presented by COVID-19. When the Baker University Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) chapters prepared to host their annual Greek Week event, this theme was ever present. Held from Mar. 29 to Apr. 1 this year, Greek Week 2021 proved to be a success.

Greek Week is also an opportunity for friendly competition between the different sororities and fraternities. The main goal of Greek Week is to get the entire FSL community involved in raising money for a designated philanthropy or charity through fun events.

This year, organizers chose the Baldwin First United Methodist Church Food Pantry as the recipient.

When COVID-19 hit, people lost their jobs and many families had kids who had to stay home rather than attend school in-person. Therefore, the need for food and resources have increased.

“We wanted to raise money that went directly to the local area,” Hadley Kaff, one of the Greek Week directors, said. “COVID hurt a lot of people and we needed to help those who are in our community.”

There are multiple churches in Baldwin City that accumulate resources to donate to people in need. The Baldwin First United Methodist Church Food Pantry is a food bank that is supported by the Baldwin City community and housed in the local First United Methodist Church.

Normally, there is a physical pantry with shelves stocked with items that patrons can fill their bags from. However, due to COVID-19 safety regulations only allowing one family in the pantry at a time, organizers have been giving patrons gift certificates to the Baldwin City Market since March 2020.

The certificates have been paired almost every week with other gift cards or sacks containing hot dogs, soups, crackers, cereals and more.

Baker University Professor of Business and Economics Martha Harris has served on the Missions Committee, a group of volunteers for the pantry at First United Methodist Church, for about three years in total.

She is one of the many volunteers from the church that process donations, stock shelves, make and distribute the certificates and help with other tasks.

Each week, approximately 38 to 45 community members benefit from the pantry. The number of people served has even reached up to 55 some weeks.

As the Zeta Tau Alpha representative for Greek Week, Senior Madison Saucedo asked the local restaurant El Patron to host a fundraising event in which the restaurant would donate 20 percent of all sales on Mar. 26 to the pantry. The owner of El Patron agreed.

People were encouraged to eat at El Patron on that day to help out the cause.

El Patron ended up donating $1,000 in total to Greek Week. According to Saucedo, giving back to the community they live in while in college is important.

“We wanted to help out the local community members who may be struggling financially in the town we live in for four years of our college experience,” Saucedo said.

When Greek Week was complete, participants had raised a total of $1,160. They presented the check to the Baldwin First United Methodist Church Food Pantry shortly after. Harris feels that helping one another is a vital aspect to maintaining a good community relationship.

“The Missions Committee always appreciates participation from the University,” Harris said. “Baker is so important to the life of the town, and student participation in community life is a big part of keeping that relationship strong.”