Alpha Phi Sigma hosts holiday food drive

Vydalia Weatherly, Contributing writer

Mercyhurst’s chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma (APS), is hosting a donation drive this holiday season.

The donation drive began on Nov. 11 and will continue to run through Dec. 16.

This is the first year Alpha Phi Sigma has done a donation drive.

When the current president of Alpha Phi Sigma, Katherine Leonard, a senior with a major in criminal justice and a minor in the psychology of crime and justice in the 4+1 program, was asked why it was important for APS to finally do a donation drive, she said, “Alpha Phi Sigma has been working for the last two years to create more of an active presence on campus and in the community. We have emphasized the importance of giving back to others and helping those in our community.”

For the donation drive, Alpha Phi Sigma is partnering with the Erie City Mission.

Adam Saeler, Ph.D., who is a professor in the criminal justice department and serves as the faculty advisor for Alpha Phi Sigma said, “The Erie City Mission is a local nonprofit that supports residents of Erie that are in need. The ECM provides free public meals, ministry to men, women, and children, and a clothing thrift shop among other support services. The ECM is always looking for food or clothing donations to support their efforts.”

There are hopes that Alpha Phi Sigma will work with the Erie City Mission on future donation drives after this partnership.

“This is the first year that APS has partnered with the ECM, but as the faculty advisor of APS, I would like to see the relationship continue with an annual donation drive either around the holidays or even during months when donations may be down slightly,” said Saeler.

Leonard reflects on how service has affected her, “After working within my community over the summer, I realized how grateful and impactful a donation drive could be for people. The facility I worked at over the summer was always so grateful and excited to receive donations from other community members. When I pitched the idea to the other officers and the club members, they agreed that it would be a great new service idea for our club and provide a way for us to interact with the community more.”

While Alpha Phi Sigma does not have a donation goal in mind, the drive appears to be off to a great start.

“After speaking with Dr. Saeler, we have had a great turnout so far! We have filled about two boxes with items to donate and are continuing to advertise and spread the word about what we are doing” said Leonard.

The donation drive will be going on for a few more weeks.

“APS is collecting rice, pasta, toilet paper, napkins, plastic cutlery, pop tarts, granola bars, cereal, mac and cheese and really any other items that have a long shelf life. Any donation at all helps out,” said Saeler.

All donations can be taken to the drop-off box in front of Dr. Saeler’s office in Preston 120 now until Dec. 16.

“We all agreed that the holiday season is a great time to give back and is the time of year that everyone can use a little extra help. Hopefully, the holiday donation drive can become an annual event for APS to sponsor and donate to different organizations throughout Erie each year,” said Leonard.

If any student or faculty member has any questions about Alpha Phi Sigma’s donation drive, can email Dr. Saeler at