The Daily Gamecock

Greeks recycle cans to help addicted teens

Proceeds from "Cans Help" competition to fund youth initiative programs


The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity sponsored an aluminum can drive this past week, with profits from the donations going to help teens who are battling with substance addiction.

The drive was held as a contest to see which of ten sorority houses could donate the most cans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the national average of people age 12 and older who have used illicit drugs in the past month is 8.7 percent. Balefire, a religious-based organization in South Carolina, works to help teens under the age of 18 who are battling with substance addiction through social integration as well as biblical teachings. According to Balefire, working with adolescents “brings much more of a challenge because they are developing physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.” The organization seeks to provide a positive environment for youth where they can “shift their focus from themselves to a higher purpose.”

Keith Buchanan ,executive director of Balefire ,said the funds from the can donations will initially assist in funding the organization and that the program in the future will be self-sustaining. In addition to the he “Cans Help” campaign, Balefire is also developing a youth initiative program, which is a mentoring program for youth in an outdoor environment, as well as a project to create a series of memorials around the nation in honor of those who have been victims of alcohol and drug abuse.

The “Cans Help” program, which the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has had a hand in, has collected over 240 lbs. of aluminum so far from various collection locations around Columbia. Balefire’s website pledges to donate 10 percent of their profits to a different charity every month, in addition to helping fund their own organization.

“SAE has gone above and beyond in helping us. We cannot thank them enough for what these young men are doing and are excited about their future plans for assistance,” said Buchanan in a written statement.

In wrapping up the fraternity’s first year in partnership with Balefire, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s community service chair Tom McHugh said they hopes to continue working with with the organization..

“We love what their goals are, and we’re looking forward to helping them in the future,” said McHugh.

McHugh also noted that the recycling trailer in front of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in the Greek Village is open to anyone who would like to donate their cans for the cause.