Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Little Saturday Morning "Housework" Showcases the Super Chapter's Social Action Commitment

Bro. Kelly and House Captain
You may think that Ques only come out after dark, but you are probably not aware of the commitment Omega Psi Phi men give to their community before sunrise.  The Brothers of Gamma Pi Chapter in Prince George's County have been known to get up on many Saturdays while others are still "dreaming" in their sleep, to feed shelter residents, check in on the homeless, and more recently, to help make a home a better and brighter place for a local elderly homeowner through the Annual Christmas in April program.

On April 29, Brothers converged on a local home in the Crain Highway area of Upper Marlboro to carry out a variety of "housework" chores inside and outside. We're not talking about housework like vacuuming, dusting , doing the dishes or straightening up clutter. This was heavy duty stuff -- yard work, painting, debris removal, shoveling, and hammering and nailing. There was an assortment of tools needed to do the job, including rakes, mowers, edgers, shovels, garden hoes and wheelbarrows, It's all geared towards making the elderly residents' home more livable and presentable.

As Omega men are accustomed to doing, Brothers broke down the project in teams and shifts. There were five shifts beginning with the earlybird 7 a.m. crew and ending with the 3 p.m. late-afternoon team.

"This is an annual Gamma Pi tradition that we proudly give to our constituents in the county,"said Brother Kevin Greenwood, who chairs the Social Action committee. "The goal is to provide clean up services to a well-deserving family in the Prince George's County Community. This is what we do."

For several years, Brother Tony Kelly has led Gamma Pi's Christmas in April project. He has made the contacts, organized the chapter and schemed out the on-site projects and tools required. Brother Kelly  has inspired the chapter to service on a project that requires much more in the way of sweat equity than many of the other Social Action projects that Gamma Pi does. On a Saturday morning when it is so easy to sleep in -- at least until 9 a.m. -- the call to ":manual labor" can go unheeded. But Omega men always rise to the call of purpose and service. When Brother Kelly's emails start coming announcing Christmas in April, Brothers know they must set their alarm clocks for that special Saturday in April.

Some members of the Super Chapter crew
 Christmas in April is a non-denominational volunteer organization that repairs the homes of senior citizens who are either low-income and/or physically challenged. In every community, it results in a one day repair project that takes place during the last Saturday in the month. Christmas in April brings together business,. corporate, government, religious and community organizations along with local volunteers like the Brothers of Gamma Pi.

The recent Christmas in April project  is one of more than 10 Social Action initiatives Gamma Pi has participated in already this year. The chapter has appeared at career days, at a communitywide dialogue on domestic violence, participated in neighborhood cleanups as well as a fitness and wellness expo. The next major Social Action project is the annual Seniors Banquet set for Saturday, June 10. More details are forthcoming.

Watch Gamma Pi's "Community UPLIFT" TV show to learn more about the Social Action initiatives: Gamma Pi on TV:

Photos by Bro. Tony Kelly and Raphael Terrell
Video clip by Bro. Kelly


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gamma Pi Brother Makes Headlines as "Vet on Wheels"

One thing that signifies Gamma Pi Chapter is its professional diversity. We have men from every walk of life populating The Super Chapter -- doctors, lawyers, business leaders, teachers, preachers, military leaders and government executives, as well as computer scientists and members serving on all levels of law enforcement. When it comes to medicine, one member of Gamma Pi is a noted expert in providing medical treatment to a Veterinarian.
That person is none other than Bro. Dr. Harrison Foy, DVM (Rho Psi '67), who is being featured this week in The Capital Gazette for his innovative "Vet on Wheels" mobile unit that allows him to provide "house call-style" medical care to pets around the metro area. Click here to check out this great story:
Bro. Dr. Foy has paced the way for many other young African Americans, including his own daughter, to enter the veterinary medical field. He is also responsible for four young women whose fathers are members of Gamma Pi Chapter studying under full-ride scholarships at Tennessee State University. You can read about the "Tennessee State" pipeline he started on this blog:

Monday, December 26, 2016

Only "The Ques" Can Cover All the Bases During the Holiday Season; Gamma Pi Answers the Call with Last-Minute Christmas Uplift

Basileus Tony Lee (right) and Bro. Chris Edwards with local
organizer at the Capitol Heights toy giveaway
The holidays are exciting and fun, but tough. So many competing responsibilities to make sure everyone enjoys the holiday season, especially the less fortunate. There's immediate family considerations, extended family considerations, community and church obligations. Everyone wants a piece of your time during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's period. But nobody gives during the holiday season like the men of Gamma Pi. The Brothers have a genuine selfless mindset.

In customary fashion underscoring the legacy of the Super Chapter, many Gamma Pi Brothers mixed their own private holiday Uplift projects with chapter-sponsored events to spread holiday cheer to needy communities in every corner of Prince George's County. In fact, Brothers did not hesitate to dive in and give of their time and resources during the very week of Christmas.

Large haul of toys distributed at the Capitol Heights giveaway
On Tuesday, December 20, Gamma Pi's Social Action committee brought an early start to Christmas to the residents of the Windsor Crossing Seniors complex with the chapter's Quarterly Birthday Bash. Seniors at Windsor Crossing are treated to a birthday party every quarter by Gamma Pi, featuring staples like ice cream, cake,decorations and small presents. For people who are sometimes forgotten and out of the rhythm of the daily hustle and bustle because of their advanced age, the Quarterly Birthday Bashes can be the highlights of their lives. The seniors are known to ask between events, "When are the Omegas coming back?" No question, they are always glad to see the Brothers walk through those doors in that distinguished Royal Purple and Old Gold!

Brothers pose with adopted family
On Thursday, December 22, several Brothers also united with a private company owned by the wife of Bro. Charles Coleman, an Omega man who transitioned to Omega Chapter on November 10 and who was formerly a member of Gamma Pi, to adopt a local family for the holiday. Brothers Orlando McDowell, Anthony Stewart and Kevin Greenwood worked with The Coleman Group to sponsor the Hall family from the local area. Brother Coleman's wife reached out to the Social Action committee to coordinate the gifts of school clothing, tablets, gift cards and food for the single-parent household headed by the father with two young sons in the spirit of late Bro. Coleman's community service commitment.

"It was an awesome gesture. The family was very appreciative," said Bro. Greenwood.

On Friday, December 23, members of The Super Chapter joined forces with the affiliated Friendship Charities Foundation, Inc, to participate in a community Toy Giveaway at the Mission of Love Charities, Inc. in Capitol Heights from 9 a.. to 1 p.m.. Many of the children in that community are disadvantaged and for them, the toy giveaway can mean the difference between Christmas wishes unfulfilled and a real Christmas.

Thanks to Brothers McDowell, Stewart, Greenwood, Chris Edwards and Terry Hare for leading the way and organizing the social events and sacrificing their time during the week of Christmas to bring Uplift to some of the most neglected residents of Prince George's County. Thanks also to Bro. Tony Kelly for the Seniors Birthday Bash video clip (below) and Bros. Edwards and Greenwood for the other photos.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Gamma Pi and Friendship Charities Deliver Thanksgiving Turkeys to Suitland-area Seniors

Brothers take a pause after turkey deliveries
Friendship Charities Foundation’s 13th Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Baskets Giveaway was held on Tuesday evening, November 22, 2016 at the Windsor Crossing Seniors Building in Suitland, Maryland.  More than 90 seniors received the special Thanksgiving turkey dinner package.

The dinner packages went far beyond just turkey. Each dinner consisted of a 12-14 lb. butterball turkey, a holiday pie, a sweet potato casserole, mixed vegetables and a bag of apples and pears.  As customary, this event is held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving because the turkeys are purchased frozen which makes the two-day lead time perfect for the seniors to prepare their Thanksgiving dinner.    

Bro. Tony Kelly unloads turkeys, trimmings
Friendship Charities Foundation (FCFI) and members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity jointly hand-delivered the Thanksgiving baskets to each senior’s door, greeting them and presenting them with their Thanksgiving dinner. As always, the seniors were anxiously awaiting their turkey baskets; they were so appreciative.  Their gratitude and appreciation are the motivating factors that keep this effort going year after year for FCFI and Gamma Pi chapter.

In addition, FCFI always invites students from the local schools to participate in the event.  The students benefit in two ways: first they learn and experience what it means to give back to the community by speaking with the seniors and the seniors expressing their thanks and gratitude to them.  Secondly, the students receive community hours for their work.  This year young ladies from Charles H Flowers High School cheerleader team assisted FCFI in delivering the turkey baskets.

Contributed by Bro. Mel White
All photos by Bro. Raphael Terrell