Members of Delta Sigma Pi took to heart the mission of Pay It Forward Week in the fall.
The Illinois State University College of Business hosted the four-day event as part of a fundraising campaign designed to challenge students to help their peers by giving to the MPW Pay It Forward Business Scholarship. Prizes were given to top student organizations that joined in the week’s activities.
“Our members participated pretty heavily, and we ended up winning the pizza party,” observed Delta Sigma Pi president Rodrigo Jaime.
Instead of enjoying the food themselves, the approximately 80 fraternity members decided to pass it on as a gift.
“We thought it would be a cool idea that instead of us having a pizza party, we kind of pay it forward to Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington … They were super appreciative of it, and it was a better use of the pizza than us having it,” said Rodrigo who was among the group of Delta Sigma Pi students that delivered the food Friday, December 1, and helped serve it to the residents of the nonprofit.
This pay it forward mindset is a year-round attitude for members of Delta Sigma Pi.
“We are founded on four pillars, and one of the pillars is community service,” explained the senior accounting major before recounting some of the other projects the group has tackled this year, such as assisting with the Chicago Half Marathon and making cards for kids in the hospital.
Home Sweet Home Ministries opened its doors Thanksgiving Day 1917 and for the past century has been committed to sharing the light of hope to those in need in Bloomington-Normal. In addition to offering warm meals, it operates a food co-op, health care services, a shelter, faith-based finance classes and a variety of other programs.
Leslie Perez, who serves as kitchen manager for the organization, noted the ministry is committed to offering people more than just hot meals and a bed. She said, “Here’s pray, here’s morning devotion, here’s someone to cry on if you need it, here’s food, here’s someone to laugh with … It’s a hand up not a hand out, and it feels good. It empowers the person … I deal with mostly the residents and people from the outside that come in that want a hot meal. Maybe they don’t have power or maybe they are homeless. Maybe they don’t have money for food or maybe they just don’t feel like cooking or they want some companionship, so they come in and eat also.”
She then described how the students’ efforts were “really appreciated.”
“They served pizza to everybody and even offered to order more if we needed it,” she recalled. “It’s just very nice to see. We have groups come in from ISU a lot. One fraternity comes in every Friday and just does whatever we need. That makes a big difference … We’ve enjoyed having all of them come in … If we didn’t have volunteers, we just wouldn’t be able to make it. We make meals for anywhere upwards of 100 to 120 people three times a day, seven days a week. We have four employees of the kitchen. Can you imagine? So we could not do it without the volunteers coming in and offering their time and the food. I think the time is most appreciated because they take their time and come in and talk to people. That makes I think the most difference.”
Rodrigo noted the experience of serving food at the mission was a vivid reminder about “being very grateful for what I have and realizing the importance of giving back to others who are in more need.”
He added that several of his fellow Delta Sigma Pi members made similar observations.