IUPUI senior inspires her sorority to give back during coronavirus pandemic


A global pandemic that has left many without steady sources of income and access to resources has shown light on the various inequities people and communities face. And an IUPUI senior was determined to do what she could to help.

“A pandemic like this one really exposes who in our communities are vulnerable,” said Jadah Cunningham, a media and public affairs major who will graduate in May.

“Many people are in crisis mode, and we are able to help the community with their most basic need at this time -- food,” she said.

Cunningham organized a food drive with Gleaners Food Book as a part of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - Omicron Pi Chapter's week of events. They knew they wanted to organize a service project to give back, especially during this time when kids who might rely on their school meals or families who might rely on churches or other organizations don’t have the same access to those resources. 

“People are unable to afford groceries, go to the store as much or get around like they used to,” Cunningham added. “This situation makes life even harder for people who already have it tough.”

Cunningham chose for her sorority to support Gleaners because it’s a staple in the Indianapolis community and it’s an easy way to ensure community members could get the resources they need. Their goal was to raise $200 during the fundraiser, and they ended up raising more than $600.

According to Gleaners, every $1 donated can feed up to five people. It can be more effective to donate money to food banks because of their relationships with local grocery stores or restaurants where they can purchase food in bulk for cheaper prices.

Cunningham urges anyone who can support Gleaners to make a small donation, as every bit helps. You can donate through the sorority's fundraising page or directly on Gleaners’ website.

Cunningham is a spring 2020 initiate of the sorority and joined due to the service focus of the organization. She is also co-founder and president of the Pre-Law Society, a multicultural peer educator with the Multicultural Center and an undergraduate research assistant with the IU Public Policy Institute.

After graduation, Cunningham plans to move to Milwaukee, WI to work on the 2020 general election.

Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. wearing white dresses and posing for a photo.
Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. posing for a photo on Monument Circle in Indianapolis.
Members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. posing for a photo.

Photos provided by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.