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Making Hearts Merry

Morehouse Shares Throughout the Year
By Rori Francis Blakeney

Hurricanes Wilma, Rita and Katrina devastate the nation. A tsunami rips through Asia claiming at least 200,000 lives in 13 countries. A student loses a parent. Or a colleague is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

What does Morehouse do in these times of crisis?

Give. And Give. And Give some more.

’Tis the season many people try to give more of their time, talent and money to others. But, giving is a way of life at Morehouse. From making room for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina to volunteering at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Morehouse students learn to use their heads and hearts.

“The College by de facto practice has been involved in service [and giving] since its beginning,” said Hasan Crockett, director of the Bonner Office of Community Service. “It is part of our mission statement that claims leadership and service. Faculty have been doing this long before the office of community service,” he said.

For the past five months English professor, E. Delores Stephens and members of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, have gone to the Atlanta Community Food Bank two evenings a month to volunteer.

“The work is gratifying because the agency is the key source of food and supplies for many shelters and other agencies in Atlanta,” Stephens said.

But, Stephens is not the only one teaching the art of giving.

Jeanine White, an administrative assistant in the psychology department, her colleagues and members of the psychology association and Psi Chi, the psychology national honor society, have been lending a helping hand to families in need for the past three years.

White said, “We have been successful over the years — we have been able to meet and exceed our goals. Everyone in our department feels it is a worthy cause and it’s a part of doing community service.”

The department adopts a family each year during the Christmas holiday through a Fulton County Department Family and Children Services sponsored program. This year, they will provide gifts for a mother and three children.

Projects like these abound on the campus. Oscar Sistrunk ‘78, a business and economics lecturer, took a group of students from his entrepreneurship class to Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Shelter to help prepare meals for Thanksgiving. The physical plant staff delivers poinsettias to former faculty members, their spouses and residents at the John O. Chiles High Rise on Lowery Blvd. Then, there is always the annual Christmas concert where people as far away as Alabama take in the sounds of the Morehouse and Spelman glee clubs.

Other projects are student-driven. The Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. contributed $1,000 from a car wash to the UNCF campaign. Members of the Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. gave turkeys to needy families for the Thanksgiving holiday. Miss Maroon and White, Kadija Johnson, and her attendants Lakisha Michelle May and Amanda Elise Poe adopted a family living in University Homes, a nearby public housing community.

“Our goal is to participate in as many community service initiatives as possible throughout the school year, said Kadija Johnson. We have started by working with the University Homes community, this semester. In the spring semester, we will continue [and] plan to focus on the youth who surround us everyday in the University Homes Housing Development. I look forward to working with the Men of Morehouse on this effort.”

Crockett, the director of the community service, says there are other benefits to community service and giving.

“In the 80s, the service learning movement gained momentum. Community service assists in the College’s overall mission,” Crockett said.

Morehouse is committed to giving whether it’s the holidays or during the course of the school year.

For more photos, click here.

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