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On December 14, 2019, the men of Psi Alpha Alpha (PsiAA) Chapter, Third District, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. continued our 25+ years collaborating with Gum Springs Community Center to host their Annual Christmas Holiday Party.
This important project that supports those less fortunate along the Route 1 Corridor, brings the holiday experience to deserving families and children who might not otherwise have a traditional, joyous holiday. The party is possible due to a tremendous partnership between Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, Gum Springs Community Center, Gum Springs Community Center Advisory Board, Fairfax County Fire Department, and of course Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter.
So, what’s involved? The brothers of Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter arrived early to prepare the snacks and then, assisted in the opening ceremony, helped as the children of all ages created Christmas crafts, received their gifts, and ended with a visit and photo with Santa. And you guessed it, we provided the Santa. In addition, the Chapter purchased and donated nearly $1,000 worth of toys that consisted of six bicycles, and 20 gifts for young girls and 20 gifts for young boys. Our holiday gifts were made relevant since they were gift wrapped by the senior citizens who participate in the Seniors Outreach Program at the community center.
The Party started at 2:00 p.m., with the children and parents in the gym for the official program and where 22 bicycles were given away by a raffle. Also, the program included a Christmas carol sing-along. Following the raffle, the families were directed to four arts and crafts rooms by age, and during the arts and crafts activities, the children were escorted to have pictures taken with Santa Claus.
The finale was when the kids were called by age group and lined up and received a gift-wrapped toy from Santa Claus and his Elves in the Gift room. The beaming smiles on the children’s faces with their new toy made this uplifting event worthwhile and extremely rewarding for the chapter brothers who participated.
This year’s effort was led by Mr. Jacob Berenbroick, Program Director, Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, Gum Springs Community Center, and our own Brother Marion “Barney” Barnwell. As a bonus, Mrs. Jimi Barnwell, wife of Bro. Marion "Barney" Barnwell, birthday club donated 15 gifts in lieu of her usual birthday present. Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter was an integral part of the program’s success and we were proud to touch the lives of so many as we celebrate the world’s greatest gift – the birth of Christ. Merry Christmas!