‘Tis the season to be giving, and for more than a decade, the New York Iota chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has taken this to heart and to feet, aiming to raise awareness and money for youth AIDS services and education with its annual Tree Trot for Youth AIDS.
During the event, a Christmas tree is carried by foot from Fredonia State College to Lafayette Square in downtown Buffalo. This year’s event was held on Saturday, December 1st and marked the 12th annual Tree Trot for Youth AIDS organized and ran by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
The journey is a daunting 42 miles and includes all 40 members of the Fredonia chapter. The group ran north to Dunkirk and followed Route 5 all the way to Buffalo. They arrived at Lafayette Square at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, which culminated the12-hour run for charity. The 5 foot tree was donated by Tuscany Market in Fredonia and was carried in a relay fashion by four members at a time. The tree was donated to a needy family upon arrival.
Thousands of dollars have been raised for this cause over the years through the Tree Trot for Youth AIDS. Donations are secured from private individuals and businesses in Fredonia, Dunkirk and Western New York.
“We wanted to show that our college fraternal organization really cares about this cause. The idea for Tree Trot for Youth AIDS came about because we wanted to do something to generate public awareness for this great organization,” said Sigma Phi Epsilons Vice President and Programming Director, Cordell Jacobs Jr. “What better way to create awareness for a great cause than have a group of young men run from Fredonia to Buffalo carrying a Christmas tree.”
Youth AIDS is the national charity for Sigma Phi Epsilon to which all chapters of the fraternity donate. This charity 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 to work with local groups in order to raise money and continue this charitable cause.
Individuals who wish to donate to the Youth AIDS organization or Tree Trot for Youth Aids can do so online through the organization’s website, www.youthaids.org or by contacting Sigma Phi Epsilon by email or by phone at 347.721.8015.