BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Gamma Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is helping the community with food and other important items.
The local chapter is doing so through A WISH, Inc. which is a non-profit organization created by the sorority to help women, children and families in the greater Daytona Beach area and Volusia County.
A WISH’s Mission: Possible! program distributes food, education supplies and other essentials to underserved families in the areas it serves.
The Mission: Possible Food & Essential Drive kicked off on Feb. 27 at Pine Haven Apartments and Lakeside Village Apartments.
Student chapter helped
One hundred bags of food each were distributed at both locations. The Gamma Tau Chapter at Bethune-Cookman University also assisted.
“We just want to make sure our community has food and essentials as well as school supplies,” said Ida Duncan-Wright, president of the Gamma Mu Omega Chapter.
Sandy Noah, project manager for the Mission: Possible! program expressed: “We wanted to help the Midtown community. We wanted to meet them halfway. We are also here entrenching ourselves in the community.”
Food items given away included macaroni, meat, vegetables, rice, fruit cups and more.
UPS Foundation grant
In addition to food, personal protection equipment was distributed, including masks, alcohol, hand sanitizer, soap, tissue and information packets detailing how residents can protect themselves from the spread of the coronavirus.
The items were made available through a $15,000 grant provided by UPS Foundation and obtained by A WISH, Inc.
Residents are thankful and believe it’s a good gesture by the sorority.
Charnell Dunn was one of those who picked up the items at Pine Haven.
Dunn told the Daytona Times, “I think this is awesome because people are in need right now. We all need a little help up occasionally; especially with what people are dealing with right now with COVID.”
‘A service to all mankind’
The endeavor is even more critical as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the
community and more people are in need.
“We have seen an increase of people losing their jobs and food pantries becoming bare both here locally,” said Wright.
The AKAs believe it is critical that organizations do all they can to help during this time of need.
“Our organizations always want to be a service to all mankind. COVID exposed some of the disparities in our communities. We want to stay true to our missions and help those in our community with whatever services they can provide,” stressed Wright.
Helping 32114 area
In addition to helping the community during the pandemic, the initiative also came about to address a 2015 Florida Department of Health report, which indicated the 32114 zip code as the poorest and unhealthiest in the county.
The report outlined high numbers of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, lack of access to quality health care, and lack of access to healthy foods.
The 32114 zip code encompasses parts of Daytona Beach, Holly Hill and South Daytona, including Midtown and Daytona’s Black community.
Noah emphasized, “We saw the need from not only the pandemic but the health disparities that the people are facing. This is also a way to combat those issues.”
Both organizations know despite a vaccine and things opening up around the country there is a long way to go until things return to normal.
“It probably won’t be until 2022 when the economy rebounds and we see some type of normalcy. People are in need and struggling,” noted Wright.
More to come
More giveaways are scheduled in the near future under the Mission: Possible! project.
The next event is scheduled at Mainland High School on March 19. It will help school children preparing for spring break with food and school supplies.
Halifax Urban Ministries’ Food Brings Hope program is partnering.
Another will take place in June with Mind of Christ Ministries at 1202 Ridgewood Ave., where Victor Miles is the senior pastor. That event will focus on food and school supplies.
For more on the program, visit www.awishdaytona.org. For additional information on the UPS Foundation, go to www.UPS.com/foundation.