Members of the Delta Phi Omega Chapter in the Twin Cities made a generous donation of grocery gift cards for particularly vulnerable families who arrived with refugee status this year. These gift cards provided tangible support and the encouragement of welcome to each of these families. But how did the sisters in this chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha come to make the donation? Every donation has a story, a point where the donors heard about refugees and decided to take action. We wanted to share a bit of that story with you, as told by their president, Mary Dedeaux-Swinton.
“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is an international organization of nearly 300,000 members in over a thousand chapters and we currently have five program targets. One of our targets is Global Impact. As a bullet point under that target, we have a Refugees in America Assistance Program. We started our current program platform in the fall of 2018. Although we always hear the word ‘refugee’ in the news, I quickly realized that we didn’t really know what it meant, how one would become a refugee, what life is like as a refugee, what’s involved in resettlement, etc.
That sparked my interest in meeting with Kathryn [Berger, MCC Refugee Services’ Outreach Coordinator]. We had great conversation about the services you provide to refugee families and how Delta Phi Omega Chapter might help. As a result of our conversation, we were able to have a refugee speaker from MCC Refugee Services come and speak to us at our April business meeting about her refugee experience. I felt, in order for us to be of assistance, that we needed some educating on the subject. Her presentation was eye opening, to say the least. There were a lot of ‘aha moments’ that day.
Our first activity after the refugee speaker shared to us was a letter writing campaign to all of our US Congressmen and US Senators from Minnesota. We sent official letters of advocacy from the chapter and members within each of the different districts also signed.
Our program committee also felt as part of our Refugees in America Assistance Program, that gift cards for everyday necessities would be helpful.
We are looking forward to being of service to our refugee communities in 2020!”
Thank you so much to the women of Delta Phi Omega!