FARMINGTON — A service fraternity at the University of Maine at Farmington has set a goal of collecting 1,000 cans of food for local pantries.

Members of Alpha Phi Omega will place boxes in local businesses, including Save-A-Lot, Mooseville and Tranten’s this week where they’ll remain until Nov. 30, Brian Dodge, fraternity pledge and food drive organizer, said.

Along with cans of food for Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington and the Dixfield Food Pantry, personal hygiene items such as toothpaste are needed. These are things they can’t buy with monetary donations, Alpha Phi Omega President Eli Manner said.

Dodge, a UMF senior from Rockport, and Manner, a junior from Frankfort, discussed plans to reach the goal, including going door to door or holding special events to collect foods.

The co-ed fraternity with 40 members on the UMF campus is one of about 300 chapters nationwide, Manner said. Each member is expected to donate hours of service to the local community, 10 for a pledge and 15 for a brother, during the semester.

The group has worked on a local horse rehabilitation farm, sponsored Easter egg hunts and baby-sitting for a parents’ night out. It plans to raise funds to help build a well in Africa and continue the food drive into next semester, Dodge said.

It’s not all work. Fellowship is a large component of the fraternity. Meetings are held every Monday night where they talk about projects they are working on. Social events are held regularly, time set aside for fun and getting to know the members, Dodge said.

The fraternity teaches leadership and service to the community, he added.

The group is not averse to working on a farm or other service, he said.  If someone is looking for volunteers to help out, they can contact Alpha Phi Omega by email at [email protected]

[email protected]

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