‘Break in a Bag’: Huntingdon Brothers Show First Responders in Their Community How Much They Mean to Them
The men in the Pi-Chi chapter at Huntingdon College take community service to a whole ‘nother level.
About a year ago, they started bouncing ideas off each other about how they could get out into their Alabama community and do some good — not just once a year or once a semester, but year-round. With the help of their adviser, “Break in a Bag” was formed.
They wanted to get to know the first responders in their community and show them that the work they do matters.
“It’s good for them because it shows them they have people out here who really care about them,” said John Hunnicutt, the chapter’s High Theta. “But it’s also good for us because it helps our brothers build social skills.”
It has helped him tremendously, he said.
Together, the men in the chapter fill large Ziploc bags with bottles of water, drink mixes, pretzels, cookies and hand-written letters for every first responder, thanking them for their service.
First up was the Montgomery Police Department. Hunnicutt said his letters to the officers were personal, and he included #BlueLivesMatter at the end.
“This isn’t a political statement,” he said. “We just want these men and women to feel like they’re cared for and important.”
They hope their cleverness adds a little humor to their efforts and gives those on the front lines a good laugh.
“We change it up from time to time,” Hunnicutt said. “For example, we gave the firefighters Life Savers candy.”
Because they received such positive feedback from the police force, they decided to keep doing it. So far, they have handed out bags at a nursing home, a volunteer ambulance company and several fire stations. This month, they are focusing their efforts on emergency room nurses.
“We will continue to do it more and more,” Hunnicutt said. “It’s a breeze when we get all 24 of our brothers together to do it. It’s absolutely a collective effort.”
The service project is helping these brothers become better people, and it’s helping the community see that, he said.
“Right now more than ever, fraternity and Greek Life as a whole has a stigma attached to it,” Hunnicutt said. “People think it’s just a bunch of guys living in an animal house, but that’s really not the case. The point of fraternity — especially ours — is to make men out of boys, and we’re doing that.”
They have gotten a lot of good feedback from all of the first responders who have received bags, but also from their campus community and the city of Montgomery.
“We just wanted to do something decent for hard-working men and women,” Hunnicutt said. “That’s all we get out of it.”
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