PTK collects 673 pounds of food for pantry
By Allison Fields
photo submitted by Frances Perkins
Phi Theta Kappa members staff the display table to raise
awareness for their spring food drive.
Students in Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society (PTK) held their first ever food drive April 8 through April 12.
UW-Fox's chapter, Alpha Theta Tau, teamed up with St. Joseph's Food Pantry in Menasha for the food-raiser.
Group members collected donations over the noon hour each day that week and the contributions were sent to St. Joseph's.
"We wanted to do a philanthropic project that would directly benefit our community. St. Joe's was right across the street, so it was easy to reach out to them," Phi Theta Kappa adviser Frances Perkins, said.
This is Perkins' first year with the honor society. Her job entails helping new members join the organization and carry out the activities they wish to do.
With help from Perkins, vice president Carrie Lane made the charity promotion possible. Lane will assume the role of Phi Theta Kappa's acting president this fall.
"This is the first big thing that PTK has done on campus in a long time," Lane said.
"We switched our focus to what we could do locally. And what's more local than St. Joe's?"
Students who donated nonperishables and other items received prize tickets.
"It makes the whole thing more fun," Perkins said.
Prizes included travel mugs, a dehydrator and gift cards to Sam's Club, Outback Steak House and Half Price Book Store, as well as four Timber Rattler tickets with a parking pass.
"Who doesn't like prizes? We just thought that if we could offer some incentive for students and faculty to bring in items that we might have a bigger response," Lane said.
When the week was over, the collected food was delivered to St. Joseph's. The total amount of PTK donations from weighed roughly 673 pounds.
Weekly donations are distributed to the pantry's clients, which includes 1,000 families a week, through the organization's food program. Donations are distributed to other places in the community as well.
"We also support Harbor House, Tots and we have a backpack food assistance program. So we're helping six school districts with canned food for their students who have a need," St. Joseph's director Monica Clare, said.
Phi Theta Kappa plans to work with St. Joseph's again.
"It would be nice to build a relationship with St. Joe's and have an annual event," Perkins said.
Food donations went exclusively to St. Joseph's, but the event also helped an organization called Food for Freedom with their world record food drive attempt.
"The world record was just lucky timing. We would have done the food drive no matter what, but it's fun to be part of a record-setting attempt," Perkins said.
"The most important thing we as a group wanted to accomplish was helping St. Joe's help others. I mean, it would be great to be able to say that we helped set a world record, but that wasn't the main goal, just a bonus," Lane said.
Phi Theta Kappans hope students will consider joining the organization in the future.
"We really just wanted to get the Phi Theta Kappa name known around campus, and I think we have definitely done that. There are so many people that are invited to join PTK each semester, but probably don't because they have no idea what the heck it is. Hopefully we have changed that and made our presence known," Lane said.
Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs, particularly community and junior colleges. According to their mission statement, the group's purpose purpose is to "recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students".
The group's campus chapter meets every other Thursday in room 1336 at 12:30 p.m.