Columbus, Ohio — Saturday, November 18th was an epic day — and not just because the Buckeyes spanked Illinois on the gridiron over in the “Shoe” to cement their place in the Big Ten Football title game early next month. Since the establishment of the Historic Columbus Kappa House in 2011, the Brothers of the Columbus (OH) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated never provided more than a few hundred turkeys to community residents.
“Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to take this community event to a new level” quipped Polemarch Kojo Kandi, the local chapter’s president. Walmart, Molina HealthCare, Eden Counseling Centers and the Columbus Kappa Foundation worked collaboratively to sponsor the 7th annual community Turkey Giveaway to residents in the 43203, 43205 and 43219 zip codes.
According to recent census data, the 43203 and 43205 zip codes are two of the poorest communities in the Columbus metropolitan area. Community residents lined up far down Mt. Vernon Avenue and waited their turns to receive the fraternity’s goodwill food assistance.
“We are blessed to be able to serve God’s people and this community” said Jeffery Ushry, longtime Turkey Drive chairman. ”We provided a total of 600 turkeys and groceries to those in need of assistance” Ushry added. Residents lined up early, and most were surprised that more than just a turkey was distributed this year. Thanks to the generous support of both Walmart, Molina HealthCare and individual Brothers from the Chapter who reached into their own pockets to fund this event; families were provided fruit, vegetables, stuffing, eggs, Velveeta, Jello, White Honeysuckle turkeys and a host of other grocery items for family food assistance this holiday.
The Columbus Alumni Chapter’s annual event, under the direction of Chairman Ushry, continues to grow each year. The event has become bigger and that is a good thing since food insecurity has become an issue for many residents. The volunteer list to help this effort has grown as well. In addition to supporting the initiative, Molina HealthCare provided a booth for residents and volunteers to assist the Kappas escort residents to their cars with their groceries.
This year, the annual event even drew news coverage from two network television stations (WBNS 10, a CBS affiliate; and WCMH 4, NBC affiliate) during a two hour stretch of the give-a-way. “This has become a mainstay of the near East side” according to Kandi, speaking of the Kappa Turkey Give-a-way.
Despite the local chapter’s current challenges — visible water damage to the fraternity house located at 1461 Mt. Vernon Avenue, the organization remains steadfast in their efforts to continually support other area residents.
“One down, one to go.” said Ushry, who is also the chairman of the fraternity’s annual X-mas Toy give-a-way. That event, will be held at the fraternity house next month. A sign noting the day of that event has been posted on the building.