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Fraternity program benefits area youths

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Members of the Phi Kappa Kappa Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., said they had a successful first attempt at the chapter's "Shop with a Que" Program. The metro Atlanta graduate chapter program sponsored children from nine families living in Henry, Clayton and Rockdale, counties, said chapter member Philip Starke, who co-chaired the recent shopping event.

"It was an awesome, awesome event," said Starke. "One of the parents -- a grandmother who has custody of her daughter's child --was overwhelmed that we were doing it. She said she was glad there were still kind people in the world."

Starke said each child was selected for the program based on need. Those selected, between the ages 3, to 12, were escorted through the Wal-Mart Super Center in Conyers, by an Omega Psi Phi fraternity member, with $200 for shopping.

"The kids were very humble, and very thankful," said an inspired Starke. "These are some very unique and very deserving kids. I was impressed with their character. It touched me more than probably it touched them.

"I think we got just as much out of it as they did," he continued. "I think we all grew a little bit from it. It made it worthwhile and hammered home the real meaning of the holidays."

A Conyers-based agency, Destiny Starr Community Partnership, Inc., donated the $2,000 toward purchases in the program. The non-profit agency supports senior citizens, and at-risk youth, according to Rickey Harrison, of Destiny Starr Community Partnership, Inc. This year, he said, the organization expanded its reach to affect needy families during the Christmas holidays.

"I saw the need for the community; there are a lot of families that are in need," Harrison said. "We had more applications than we did funds. We're going to try to attract more funds from organizations to help more families next year. Hopefully, next year will be a bigger event."