AIKEN, S.C. — Fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and muffins were on the menu Saturday morning at Perry Memorial Park.
Members of the Aiken Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. helped distribute 240 boxes of food to local residents as part of a community involvement project. The Lillie Belle Allen Foundation and Richburg Career Services LLC sponsored the food distribution, and Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia provided the food.
“Part of our service as a fraternity is giving back to the community,” said Hayward Barnwell with the fraternity. “During this time of the year with the pandemic issues, we wanted to do something to provide for those who need it, and we hope the fruit and eggs will help them provide food for their families. We’re very happy to have this event today, and we certainly hope that our giving will be beneficial to the community of Aiken. This is what we do.”
Dr. Charles Richburg said the fraternity’s goal is to provide food for people who need it.
“We’re happy to have this time to provide food for the needy. With the pandemic, a lot of people are hungry; a lot of people can’t afford food; and a lot of people can’t get out,” he said. “That’s our goal – simple as that.”
Bonita Clemons, the executive director of Dianne’s Call, partnered with the fraternity to get the food out to the community and drove it to Aiken from Columbia. Dianne’s Call, based in Sumter, is “a grassroots organization whose mission is to optimize community health through education and access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods,” according to the organization’s website.
“I partner with foundations and organizations so they can help,” she said. “I don’t live here, but they do. It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation because everyone is working together.”
A farmer, Clemons said her mission during the COVID-19 pandemic this year is “to make sure that everybody gets fed and nobody’s hungry,” adding that she is going to rely on the state’s other farmers to make that happen.
“In the state of South Carolina, we grow so much, and sometimes we waste a lot,” she said. “Farmers leave as much as 60% in the field, but we’re not leaving any in the field this year.”