Livingstone College grad plans community outreach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2018

SALISBURY — After an encounter with a homeless man at a low point in Darren McRae’s life, he ended up in graduate school and started a clothing company. Now, he aims to organize an outreach program for the homeless in the town that sparked his pursuit of knowledge.

McRae, a Florida native, graduated from Livingstone College and went to Alabama A&M without a plan, except to enroll and graduate. McRae slept in his car the first night and met a man he believed to be homeless, asking him where he could find food.

The man offered words of encouragement and turned out to be a student observer working on a college project.

“He basically set me up for success. He gave me a place to stay and got me a job,” McRae said.

McRae said his life motto — “Adapt, adjust, overcome” — grew out of that experience because some things in life don’t always happen as planned.

He graduated from Livingstone in 2016 with a degree in criminal justice and is pursuing a master’s in social work fromatAlabama A&M. In 2017, McRae started JusFlo Clothing.

He has partnered with McLaughlin’s Grocery, just down the street from Livingstone College, and Lambda Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity to host a luncheon for the homeless community.

McRae said McLaughlin’s is providing the location.

The luncheon will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the store. The project is also in partnership with Val Jones, who is with the brand Change Your Mindset. Jones is also a member of the fraternity.

McRae hopes to continue to provide a listening ear to the homeless in the area while giving away food once a month. The group is providing food for 200 to 300 people.

“Regardless of any situation you are going through, someone could be worse off than you,” McRae said.

Harry McLaughlin, the owner of McLaughlin’s Grocery at 1210 W. Monroe St., said the project is a different kind of partnership and that the store has held customer appreciation days in the past. The store hopes to continue the relationship.

Anyone who would like to participate in the program can contact Darren McRae at 863-241-4694.