UND’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity has more than doubled its food donation to a local Grand Forks food pantry.

The fraternity collected more than 6,400 pounds of food this year for the St. Joseph's Food Pantry, more than doubling its donation of about 2,900 pounds in 2019.

“Our main mission is just to give back to Grand Forks,” James Schmidt, president of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, said. “Giving back to the community is super important to us. It aligns with the Christian values of our fraternity; service and stewardship is one of our core values. We take that very seriously and hold that close to our hearts.”

The pandemic, and people wanting to help others through the health crisis, could have positively affected giving this year, he said.

“Obviously, it's affected everyone,” Schmidt said.

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Mickey Munson, executive director of St. Joseph’s Social Care, says the food drive helps the organization’s resources, especially in the middle of the pandemic as there has been an increased need at the food pantry in recent months.

“The timing was perfect,” he said.

Munson said he believes there’s been a slight increase in giving to the food pantry in recent months as people want to reach out to help others. But the nearly 6,500 pounds of food donated from Lambda Chi will go a long way to help people in the community, he said.

“We're just very thankful for everybody that donated,” Munson said. “It helps us support our mission of caring for neighbors in need. So it goes a long ways.”

The fraternity members spend time putting together bags with flyers stapled to them for people to donate food. A few days later, the members return to pick up the bags filled with food.

Schmidt said the fraternity involved East Grand Forks more this year, and dropped off bags at some of the other UND Greek chapters this year, which could have also contributed to the increase in donations this year. He also credited Benjamin Perry, the fraternity’s external vice president of philanthropy, for the work he did on the food drive.

“Thank you to everyone who donated,” Schmidt said. “We appreciate it a lot.”