Evan Weaver, DN
Ball State's Phi Beta Sigma sleeps out to bring homelessness awareness
Editor's note: A previous version of the story had a headline that said "Lambda Beta Chapter" instead of "Phi Beta Sigma."
It was a cold and windy day for the Lambda Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., as members stayed outside for 24 hours during the 39th annual Sigma Sleepout for the Homeless philanthropy.
Despite the 35-degree temperature, fraternity members and alumni stood at the Scramble Light from 8 a.m. Tuesday to 8 a.m. Wednesday. While there, they collected donations such as nonperishable food items, clothing and money for Muncie Mission, a faith-based agency that has helped bring hope, healing and resources to the homeless and needy since the Great Depression.
Ishmeal Allensworth, senior and president of the Lambda Beta chapter, said the event raises awareness to the issue of homelessness in the area.
“We raise funds and awareness for homelessness in the impoverished community of Delaware County, as well as Muncie,” Allensworth said. “We give back in many different ways to the Muncie Mission and this is one of our main ways we like to give back and support them.”
Allensworth, who has a personal connection to homelessness, has helped plan the event the past two years.
“I have family members who, due to other circumstances, have experienced homelessness. I understand what they have went through,” Allensworth said. “Losing their homes, having to live on the street and then being able to raise a family. Now years later, they were able to bounce back and regain their life.”
Like Allensworth, Tory Bootcheck, a freshman biology major, has a personal connection with homelessness, which is why she decided to donate to the cause.
“It’s important to me to help those when I can. I know what it’s like personally to struggle,” Bootcheck said. “My dad has gone through two foreclosures, one of which I was old enough to remember.
“I know what it’s like to not know where you’re going to sleep tonight or you don’t know where your next meal is going to come from, so I always try to help whenever I can.”
Ennis Adams Jr., Lambda Beta chapter alumnus and current first vice president of the graduate alumni chapter Xi Sigma of Indianapolis, participated in his 14th Sigma Sleepout Tuesday.
Adams said he comes back every year to help the brothers and continue the historical tradition.
“As a fraternity, our motto is ‘Culture For Service and Service For Humanity,’ so we give back,” Adams said. “I love being able to come back, and it’s been a fun time as always.”
Adams said the Sigma Sleepout philanthropy is all about something that is bigger than oneself.
“There’s so many times where we get caught up in what we don’t have or what we want to have,” Adams said. “So many times, you see people that are lacking. They don’t have things or opportunities that we have access to.”