Through the generous contributions of Virginia Tech students, the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program (MCEAP) will be able to provide support to thousands of individuals and families in Montgomery County.

More than $8,000 was collected during the fourth annual Flex Out Hunger program coordinated by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and Virginia Tech's Office of Student Programs. Students were given an opportunity to use their dining plans to purchase grocery certificates for the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program.

"The funds raised through the fourth annual Flex Out Hunger food drive goes a long way in restocking our food bank, which is always in need," said Phil Pappas, president of MCEAP. "[The] Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program provides emergency assistance to individuals and families who for reasons beyond their control are temporarily unable to provide for themselves. MCEAP appreciates the generosity of the Virginia Tech students for helping to meet the food needs of those less fortunate."

Flex Out Hunger donation tables staffed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon students were set up outside of all the major dining centers in May. Students were asked to complete a donation form and take it to a designated cashier to have their donation subtracted from their dining plan. Everyone who made a donation was also entered into a drawing for various door prizes donated by local businesses.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon started the Flex Out Hunger program four years ago, with the goal to provide an easy way for Virginia Tech students to donate money to the local community. Over the past four years, Virginia Tech students have donated more than $41,000 to MCEAP through this program.

"The Flex Hunger Program was again a win/win/win situation for the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program, for students and the SAE fraternity, and for the Office of Student Programs," said Dr. Edward Spencer, assistant vice president for student affairs. "The MCEA Program obtained much needed and flexible dollars to be used in purchasing food for those in need. Students and the fraternity gained by being able to donate some of their food dollars to a deserving charity rather than spend these dollars on food for themselves. The Office of Student Programs gained by having no net impact on the department's budget and yet serving as the 'vehicle' that allowed this project to happen. We were delighted to be approached by the SAE brothers with this idea and thrilled to see the tangible and wonderful outcome of this project for each of the past four years."

The Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program has operated since 1975 with the purpose of helping the needy in the Montgomery County community. In the last 29 years, MCEAP has spent more than $1.9 million, which has helped more than 120,000 individuals.