TKE fights Oshawa homelessness with annual “TKE in a Box”

Photo by Alex Clelland

The men of TKE standing outside of their shelter.

The men of Oshawa’s Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity hosted their annual fundraiser to raise cash and canned food donations by living inside a wooden box for three days and nights. The men hoped to replicate the harsh living environment many homeless people must endure daily.

The aim of the fundraiser was to collect money and non-perishable food items to help struggling students on campus who find it difficult to make ends meet.

“TKE in a Box” took place on April 3 – 5 in front of the Gordon Willey building at Durham College’s north campus. The shelter was built from wood and newspaper scrap and took three hours to put together.

The men of the fraternity volunteered to stay overnight to ensure their cause was a truthful representation of the homelessness problem in Oshawa.

Nick Da Costa has been a member of the fraternity for almost two years and says the brothers of TKE focus their energy on lending a helping hand wherever they can.

“We noticed that homelessness is an ongoing issue in Oshawa and its sad to have support from each other while others have nothing,” he says. “We really want to help those who are less fortunate.”

He says TKE works in the community to squash the negative stigma behind fraternities.

“We’re not all about partying and having fun. We find it very important to give back to the community and help others in need,” Da Costa says. “We’re all fortunate enough to have [the fraternity] for support, so we want to give back to other people who need our help.”

He says the main focus of the fundraiser is to help combat high tuition fees by lessening the financial burden for fellow students who can’t afford to eat consistent meals.

TKE has hosted its “TKE in a Box” fundraiser since 2008, and hosts several charity events throughout the school year. After donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in the U.S. every year, the men decided to spend some time working for a local cause at DC and UOIT.

“We noticed that it’s getting really tough to pay for school – even for our own guys – and we thought this would be a small way to help raise awareness and give back to the community,” Da Costa says. “We just want to potentially help those who need it, and staying out in the cold rain overnight makes it all worth it.”

More than 200 men have joined its Oshawa chapter since chartering in 2005, and have been recognized in Durham Region as a prominent philanthropic group for more than a decade.

Tau Kappa Epsilon’s motto is for the men to set a positive example for their peers by producing “better men for a better world.”