Sunday, May 16, 2021

UM Kappa Alpha Chapter Assists in Hurricane Matthew Relief Effort

UM Kappa Alpha member and senior John Grantham delivers school supplies collected by the chapter to Tara Bullard, principal at West Lumberton Elementary School in Lumberton, North Carolina.
UM Kappa Alpha member and senior John Grantham delivers school supplies collected by the chapter to Tara Bullard, principal at West Lumberton Elementary School in Lumberton, North Carolina.

The Alpha Upsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Mississippi recently helped Hurricane Matthew victims in Lumberton, North Carolina, by collecting and donating 288 backpacks filled with various school supplies to schools in the area.

The effort was spearheaded by John Grantham, a Lumberton native, Ole Miss senior and KA member

Grantham realized the severity of the devastation that had struck his hometown and felt compelled to assist the hurting community. He sought help from his fraternity brothers, and their efforts provided school supplies for every student at West Lumberton Elementary School.

“Being able to make such a positive impact on so many kids’ lives in such a terrible disaster in Lumberton, North Carolina, all the way from Oxford, Mississippi, speaks volumes of the character of guys we have here at KA,” Grantham said. “None of this would have been possible without the overwhelming amount of help and support I received from my fraternity brothers in organizing this backpack drive”

Thanks to a generous donation from Kirk Auto Brothers in Greenwood and the KA Philanthropy Fund, the chapter raised enough money overnight to purchase the 288 backpacks.

Once the backpacks were shipped to Oxford, the chapter started a Tilt campaign, and members shared it on social media. They raised more than $1,400 in a week.

West Lumberton Elementary School was hit hardest by the hurricane, which hit the East Coast on Oct. 8-9, and became the fraternity’s primary focus, Grantham said. However, the chapter was able to distribute more than 100 backpacks to other schools in Lumberton.

Grantham delivered the backpacks on Oct. 28, which was the Friday before school resumed the following Monday.

“Thank you to all your fraternity brothers that helped put these backpacks together,” said Tara Bullard, principal of West Lumberton Elementary School. “It is a blessing that we’re able to receive them today with school starting back on Monday.

“It means a lot to me, our school and the Lumberton community that you all helped contribute all the way from Mississippi.”

The tally of the damages left behind by Hurricane Matthew is ongoing. North Carolina officials say that more than 100,000 structures worth at least $1.5 billion were affected by the storm.

“It’s refreshing to see so many guys who are so eager to assist in circumstances like this,” said Saxon Nelson, KA chapter president. “Places and disasters can seem so far away and unrelated to Oxford, but when a brother is affected, it strikes a chord.”

Courtesy of Meredith Hutcheson and the Ole Miss News Desk  

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