Students make difference at shelter

Members of the Golden Key Honor Society commemorated the 12th annual “Make a Difference Day” Saturday at The Shelter on Tennessee Street.

With help from the Gold Member Family, Golden Key members provided shelter clients with clothing, a barbeque lunch and encouragement.

In return, the students received hope, said Tamiqua Bell, FAMU’s Golden Key president.

Make a Difference Day, sponsored by USA Weekend magazine, is a national day of community service.

Golden Key chose to spend the day at The Shelter to fulfill this year’s initiative to service the homeless, Bell said.

Students and shelter clients began the day with checkers, cards and conversation. A short reception followed.

There, speakers James Morar, previous Golden Key adviser, Ada Barnett, faculty senate president, Bell and Andre Hammel, Student Government Association president delivered messages about compassion, volunteerism and the equality of all people regardless of economic status.

“We can spend all day trying to get these things called riches,” Morar said. “But if you don’t have joy, peace, love and understanding then you absolutely have nothing.”

Golden Key member Alicia Williams, and shelter client Edward Warren entertained the group with gospel songs and poems. Mateen Stewart followed with an excerpt from “Joe Turner Come and Gone.”

After the program, clients were invited to pick from a rack of clothes collected on campus between Oct. 21 and 25. They also received small packages of toiletries.

“I’ve never seen them (clients) so enthusiastic about a program,” said James Maxwell, The Shelter director. “But you can’t reach everybody.”

Maxwell said the homeless are a diverse population and as such it is difficult to address everyone’s needs, especially in one day.

Hopefully the day did make it easier for clients to move toward the next day, said Golden Key treasurer, Ronnette Belizaire.

“It gives me hope knowing that there are still people who care enough to take the time to make other people’s lives better,” said shelter client Peter Boykins.

To ensure the assistance continues, Golden Key is making plans to prepare a meal for The Shelter once a month.

“We don’t want to come here for one day and say ‘this is our theme to help the homeless’ and not come back,” Bell said.

Hammel echoed Golden Key’s commitment to serve Tallahassee’s homeless on a more consistent base.

As for the day, shelter client Delley Bryant, said it was nice just to communicate and play games with the students.

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