Phi Sigma looking for donations

Philip Rychcik

The candy and flowers that many women look forward to on Valentine’s Day are luxuries to those staying in the Lafayette House.

A substantial need exists which members of the Freshman National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma, are working to provide. Melissa Locher, coordinator of disability services and the faculty connection to the honor society, acknowledged the necessity of the project.

“The project accepts both monetary donations as well as soaps, shampoo and toothbrushes,” Locher said. “A lot of times the women and children need these things because they’ve left their homes in haste and not under the best of circumstances.”

Donations are collected at Locher’s office in the Learning Center and assembled into baskets by members of Phi Eta Sigma. Members of the honor society chose the Lafayette House for community service for one obvious reason.

“What shocked us was that the women there didn’t have anything,” said Carla Fairbanks, a previous member and the resident director of McCormick Hall.

Teddy Brown, community services specialist at the Lafayette House, has seen that impact firsthand.

“The women go crazy over them [the baskets],” she said. “It really helps them to know that there’s someone out there who cares.”

Brown wants area women to consider the Lafayette House an available resource to assist them in the struggles they face. The basket project was included in Brown’s praise for the community generosity toward the Lafayette House.

“Phi Eta Sigma is an honor society with a service component,” Locher said. “I believe that community involvement and volunteerism is a crucial part of higher education. “Getting involved in projects like this is a good way to round out the education experience. These are just typical students making an impact. They do other service projects throughout the year, but I particularly like this one because of the direct impact it has on our local community.”

Participation was initially limited in the beginning, but over the past few years the level of donations to the project have impressed those involved, Fairbanks said.