The Beta Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. provided a group of children with backpacks filled with supplies and healthy foods as part of its commitment to community service.

Members of the sorority gathered Nov. 21 at the Orangeburg Area Boys & Girls Zimmerman Youth Center on Peasley Street in Orangeburg to distribute 75 backpacks to children participating in the after-school program there.

"Our international office in Chicago, Illinois has an initiative named One Million Backpacks in which we provide a backpack filled with school supplies to students in the community who are in need," sorority member Janelle Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also chairman of the local chapter's Target III: Family Strengthening initiative, through which the sorority provides snack packs and/or canned food drives to combat childhood hunger.

"We combined the two initiatives to have a greater impact on these students who will go home for Thanksgiving break and have supplies to do their homework and return to school with the necessary tools for learning," she said, noting that the food items would hopefully put a dent in the hunger many children may experience over the weekend.

Imani Jabrea Haygood, a fourth-grade student at Mellichamp Elementary in Orangeburg, was among those receiving a backpack and food. She thanked sorority members for their generosity.

"We appreciate what you all did to help us have a great Thanksgiving," Haygood said.

The international theme for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. is Launching New Dimensions of Service, which is being carried out under the leadership of International President Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson.

Evelyn Singleton is president of the local Beta Zeta Omega Chapter of AKA Sorority Inc. Dr. Lana Williams serves as vice president.

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