Men and women lined up outside Loaves and Fishes Ministry on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as cold weather settled into the area.
Unlike other social service organizations, Loaves and Fishes decided to open its doors on this day for the fifth year in a row because another group offers a helping hand.
The Epsilon Omega Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) comes to Loaves and Fishes every Martin Luther King Jr. Day to serve food and provide hygiene products to those who stop by the ministry.
“We’ve committed to doing it each year because we believe in the focus of Loaves and Fishes, and we, you know, feel like this is such a strong agency for us to support, and they welcome our support,” said Tanya Allen, the first vice president of the chapter.
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Allen said Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates King’s life, and providing supplies at the ministry was their way to do it.
“Dr. Martin Luther King believed that you had to give back, and if we don’t give back to the greatest among these, you know, it would behoove us, and that’s just the Christian way,” she said.
Chuka Obiekwe, a participant at the event, said the efforts of the sorority helped a lot of people.
“Some people might be homeless or down on their luck, and it’s good to have places like this that can offer you something that you might not have or you need,” Obiekwe, a retired teacher, said. “It’s a good thing.”
Judy Sexton, the director of Loaves and Fishes, said she is thankful to AKA for serving on a holiday because most other organizations that provide these services are closed.
“Since it’s a holiday, they do it as a service to Martin Luther King Day, and we really enjoy it because most of the other groups that do lunches and things are closed today,” she said. “We so appreciate them coming in. They always bring such a good energy. They have a good time with it, and when they’re having a good time, our clients appreciate that.”
Sexton said AKA provided bags of food and hygiene products, and Loaves and Fishes provided hats, scarves, gloves and blankets.
“I see a lot of thankfulness from a lot of our clients. It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” she said. “This worked out beautifully because it has been so cold.”
First Choice Primary Care was also at the event, and they were providing blood pressure screenings and information about getting a primary care doctor, said Angela Johnson, an AKA member and employee for First Choice.
“I think it went pretty good. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback,” Johnson said.
Each member of AKA purchased different food and hygiene products, and collectively, they made around 300 bags to give away, Allen said.
“Our motto is, ‘Service to all mankind.’ It’s important for us to give that service back to all mankind no matter who you are — black, white, male, female — it doesn’t matter. It is incumbent upon us to help serve those who are in need,” she said.