'Tis the season to be giving and for the past 12 years The Iota chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity of SUNY Fredonia has taken this to heart and feet by raising awareness and money for the charity, YouthAIDS, with its annual Tree Trot for YouthAIDS.
The fundraiser's objective is to carry a Christmas tree from Fredonia State College to Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo. This year's event is Saturday, Dec. 7 and will mark the 13th annual Tree Trot for YouthAIDS held by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
The journey is a daunting 42 miles and includes all 39 members of the Fredonia chapter. The group will run north to Dunkirk and follow Route 5 all the way to Buffalo. They arrive at Lafayette Square at approximately 3:30 p.m., which culminates a 12-hour run for charity. The 4- to 5-foot tree was donated by Tuscany Market in Fredonia and will be carried in a relay fashion by four members at a time. The tree will be donated to a needy family in the Buffalo Area.
In the past $2,000 to $3,000 have been raised for this cause. Donations are secured from private individuals and businesses in Fredonia, Dunkirk and Western New York and additional donations are still being accepted.
YouthAIDS is the national charity that all chapters of the Sigma Phi Epsilon donate to.
YouthAIDS has worked in over 60 countries, with programs tailored to each individual country. A $10 donation helps provide a youth with a year of health products, services and education, as well as products to protect against HIV. Some countries, such as Botswana, have populations that are over 40 percent HIV positive.
Members of the fraternity have worked with the coordinators for volunteer and community service organizations every semester. The goal is for Sigma Phi Epsilon is to work with local groups, like the Boys and Girls Club of America, in their quest to help kids who are stuck in a home with no adult care or supervision. Sigma Phi Epsilon also participates in Relay for Life every year.
Individuals who wish to donate to the YouthAIDS organization or the Tree Trot for YouthAIDS can do so online through the organization's website, www.youthaids.org or by contacting Sigma Phi Epsilon's Vice President of Finance Phil Frankino by email at email@example.com or by phone at (716)228-9617.