BY ANDREAS BUTLER
A holiday bazaar presented on Dec. 19 by Bethune-Cookman University’s Volusia County Alumni Chapter gave shoppers an opportunity to support the institution, pick up some unique gifts and support local, small businesses.
The outdoor event was held near the campus at the alumni house at 558 Oak St., Daytona Beach.
Melonie Johnson was one of the shoppers who stopped by.
“I wanted some soaps for myself and I knew my friend was here selling hers. Her stuff is
top-notch,” she told the Daytona Times.
Not only did Johnson get Christmas gifts, she supported local entrepreneurs who sold merchandise at the event.
“I also like supporting local entrepreneurs. It’s important to support entrepreneurs and Black businesses. They make the community grow and prosper. It’s needed in this area,’’ she told the Daytona Times.
‘A good cause’
She also believes it’s important to support the university.
Johnson stressed, “I attended B-CU three years. I was a Marching Wildcat. That experience changed my life. I learned my culture and heritage and got long-lasting relationships. It’s important to keep the HBCU legacy alive. Black children need to know they can be great and be around people who look like them who are successful.”
Jalyn Haywood is an alumnus of Spelman College in Atlanta. She was at the event with family members who were selling jewelry. Her parents, Patreasa and Keith Haywood, are B-CU graduates.
“I am out her helping my family. I attended Spelman but Bethune-Cookman raised me. It’s great to help out. It’s a good cause. It’s always great to help and support HBCUs. We should be supporting all our HBCUs.”
Heritage on display
Items available at the event included B-CU and Greek paraphernalia, jewelry, oils, incense, soaps, clothing, African attire, commemorative pins, purses, purses, sunglasses, mask, T-shirts and hats.
There were also items featuring President elect-Joe Biden with Vice President elect, Kamala Harris, an HBCU grad. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Howard University.
Fried fish dinners also were sold at the bazaar.
“This is a great way to support local businesses and get a holiday gift. Many of the items being sold display our heritage at Bethune-Cookman and as African-Americans,” Carmen Williamson, president of Volusia chapter, said during the Saturday bazaar.
Miss Volusia proceeds
The event also was to help help Susie Lyle, who is Miss Volusia B-CU Alumni Chapter, with her quest to become Miss National B-CU Alumni.
“As alumni, we are stewards of the university. We also want Mrs. Lyle to her reach her goal and bring the title home to Daytona Beach. We are scholarship driven and want to raise funds for the university.”
These types of events are also use for community engagement.
“This is also an opportunity for us to engage in the community and a place for the community to be able to engage in Dr. (Mary McLeod) Bethune’s legacy,” said Williamson.
Pleased with turnout
Despite some early morning rain, alumni were pleased with turnout.
“It went pretty well. We did it early on a Saturday morning. People are still coming It was also an opportunity for people to come and get last-minute Christmas gifts, including Wildcats gifts,” Williamson noted.
More such events are in the works.
“We will do more events like this in the near future. We will continue to raise funds for the university and support our students with scholarships to secure their futures as leaders in our community, state, nation and world,’’ Williamson added.