Fraternity brightens Christmas for Catholic Social Ministries

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 25, 2003

Catholic Social Ministries received 270 pounds of food from representatives of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. this week.

The 18 cases of canned goods consisted of fruits, vegetables and meats &045; all of which have been in short supply in the area in recent months, and continue to be hard to come by.

Presenting the shipment to the ministry was attorney Collins Pettaway Jr. and Coach Christopher Raymond of Southside High School.

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Receiving the food were Sister Margaret Martinek, director of the agency, which is an outreach of Edmundite Missions; Tom Jeffords, coordinator of food bag outreach for the ministry; and Ethel Kinnerson, coordinator of elderly healthcare outreach.

In officially accepting the food Jeffords said, &uot;We really appreciate what Omega Psi Phi has done. Support from the community means so much to us. I know a lot of hungry people will be very grateful for the food.&uot;

He estimated the organization gives more than 50 bags of food each week to those in need.

Pettaway, who serves as basileus or president of the local Omega Chi chapter of the fraternity, expressed great enthusiasm for the fraternity’s outreach efforts in the community. He noted that the state meeting of the fraternity was held in Selma earlier this year and permission was granted to give half of the food collected in its November drive to Catholic Social Ministries. The other half went to Selma Area Food Bank.

The state organization ordinarily makes all contributions to food banks, but permission is given for a local chapter to give one-half to a hunger agency of its choice, when the state meeting is held in its city. Next year, he said, the state meeting will be held in Huntsville, and probably a Huntsville-area charity will receive part of the collections.

Pettaway said that Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. is dedicated to striving to help instill certain values in the young men served by its outreach programs &045; manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift.

In addition to the annual food drive, other activities include sponsorship of voter registration drives, blood drives, support of the United Negro College Fund, talent hunt searches to identify young people with great promise and to encourage academic excellence.

Raymond is also excited about the food program, saying that there is good participation among Southside High School’s athletes in the drive. Next year he is hoping that the program can be expanded to include collection of canned goods at football games, though details have not been finalized, he said.