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Alpha Phi Alpha brings holiday joy to hospital staff, patients

While people were rushing home Tuesday afternoon for Christmas Eve festivities, the men of the Delta Pi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, also known as the Black Belt Alphas, headed over to Vaughan Regional Medical Center (VRMC) to provide a little holiday joy for those who would not be home for the occasion.

“We had a great time,” said Billy Young, President of the Black Belt Alphas. “Each year it gets better and each year more of the brothers participate.”

This is the fourth year the organization has undertaken the effort, which provides doctors, nurses and hospital staff with a Christmas Eve meal and provides patients and their loved ones with care packages.

“We got the idea that, on Christmas Eve, a lot of us get the chance to be with our loved ones, but a lot of people have to work on Christmas Eve to take care of our loved ones,” Young said. “We wanted to make sure they had a good dinner and fellowship on Christmas Eve.”

Further, Young noted that there are four medical doctors among the organization’s ranks, as well as members that have spent the holidays in the hospital.

The men, about 20 in all, arrived at VRMC around 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and wandered the halls of the hospital singing carols and talking with patients.

“That’s probably one of the most fulfilling things,” Young said. “Sometimes we wind up talking for hours.”

Young noted that some of the men didn’t leave the hospital until after 8 p.m. that night.

VRMC nurses took to the web hailing the “gentle giants of Alpha Phi Alpha” after the visit and Young said the appreciation from the staff, as well as the patients, was obvious.

“The nurses and the patients, they all seem to feel good about us coming,” Young said. “It was a good spirit and a good feeling.”