As another winter approaches and the last autumn leaves fall to enrich our mother earth, our thoughts turn again to the celebration of holidays and time spent with family and friends. These seasonal rituals serve to remind us of both the present and the everlasting, and no matter where we may happen to be, evoke feelings of home. For so many of us, Acacia has served as a home away from home. Thanksgiving dinners at the chapter house, invitations to Christmas dinner, the lighting of Chanukah candles, or just a shared car ride to our hometowns -- we’ve all been reminded at this time of year of just how fortunate we are. Such blessings also bring into focus those who are not so fortunate. And so, as Acacians, it is a special time for us to give light to our fellow man and exemplify our motto, Human Service.
This season finds Acacians serving our local communities and traveling far and wide to help others. The 9th annual Acacia Claus holiday toy drive is already underway at a number of chapters across North America, with more and more Acacians participating every year. This month, the California University of Pennsylvania Chapter worked with Alpha Sigma Tau sorority to collect over $2,000 worth of toys for Toys for Tots. The brothers of the CUP Chapter serve their community year-round, and this is only one example of their efforts.
In Philadelphia, three hundred miles east of California, PA, Brother Konstantinos A. Fotiadis, Purdue ’98 saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy and took it upon himself to make a difference. What began as an effort to raise a few hundred dollars for relief goods from friends on Facebook resulted in a loaded semi truck full of 25 lb. food kits, cleaning kits, water, and diapers to supply 400 families, plus Brother Fotiadis’ own truck and U-Haul trailer full of supplies, and a 15-volunteer effort to distribute it all in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, the devastation in Haiti from the 2010 earthquake is still severe. This coming January, Brother Brandon M. Nordhoff, Indiana ’04 is traveling to Carrefour, Haiti to assist in relief efforts. He and his volunteer group will deliver needed supplies and provide medical aid to those who need it most. You can make a contribution to support Brother Nordhoff’s efforts here: http://www.indiegogo.com/p/276104.
From the Ritual: It is a measure of their wisdom that the men who shaped Acacia in its early years selected Human Service as our guiding principle. To those men of thought and vision, human service was the profoundest Truth upon which we can base our lives. For they knew that in serving our fellow man we find the ultimate expression of our own humanity.