Livingstone College fraternity members serve as July 4 cooks at Rowan Helping Ministries
By Sara Gregory
Serving a meal for the less fortunate on July 4 was just the right thing for Livingstone College’s Tau Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
“It’s just fulfilling a duty,”says Moses Gordon, Livingstone’s assistant director of admissions. “This is just a small thing.
“One simple meal could change their whole lives.”
The fraternity volunteers grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and made pasta salad, baked beans and chili Friday night for those staying at the overnight shelter operated by Rowan Helping Ministries.
They stepped up to serve after another volunteer group had to back out at the last minute.
Timothy Fonville, a state probation officer who works in Salisbury and a member of the fraternity, is originally from Buffalo, N.Y. He said he grew up in less-than-fortunate conditions, and now, he likes to give back.
“I understand that any given day I could be in their situation,” he says.
Sometimes when he volunteers at Rowan Helping Ministries, he sees individuals who are on his caseload. He says he tries to encourage them and let them know he understands.
The fraternity does service projects throughout the year.
“One of the things we try to live by is everyone here is here for the purpose of serving, not being served,” Ralph Young says. “You can serve in any capacity.”
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, they collect and donate turkeys to families that can’t afford to buy one.
Members of the fraternity tutor at-risk kids, help with Habitat for Humanity and participate in blood drives. The fraternity also offers scholarships.
“I think the greatest thing in the world is to be able to give back,” Young says.
“You gotta give back to get back.”
Friday night, the fraternity volunteers cleaned clothes for those staying the night and gave them toiletry items as well.
“A lot of people treat them like second-class citizens,” says Rashid Muhammad. “It makes me feel so good to help others knowing that one day I might need help, too.”
Any individual or group interested in volunteering at Rowan Helping Ministries should call 704-637-6838 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.