Hats Off to service

By Allen A. Buchanan Staff Writer

St. Petersburg — Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. welcomed guests to their “Hats Off to You” Luncheon fundraiser Sat., April 18, at the Marriott St. Petersburg-Clearwater Hotel.

The tradition of this service recognition event is always punctuated by elegant hats worn by Delta women and audience members. The hat-studded event recognized four organizations for their services to the St. Petersburg community and beyond.

Recognized for physical and mental health, Boley Centers, Inc. was established in 1970. They are a private, not-for-profit organization serving individuals with mental disabilities, individuals who are homeless, veterans and youth in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Sarasota Counties.

Urban Development Solutions (UDS) was recognized for economic development. Founded in 2003, they completed their flagship project in 2005, the 47,000 square-foot Tangerine Plaza Shopping Center, anchored now by Walmart.

UDS is one of the few developers in the nation who has won multiple consecutive awards of specialized “social equity” funding sources, including Community Economic Development Grants, Affordable Housing Program financing and Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Recognized for their international awareness, Haitian Mission Par La Foi was founded 2008 by Marlene Berthelot and Reverend Marie Jessie Pierre. They began the mission with the objective to organize support and help the children of Haiti.

Haitian Mission Par La Foi is a not-for-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to bettering the lives of impoverished children, men and women in Haiti and in the United States. They are a faith-based mission that offers spiritual guidance, education, health care, literacy and vocational training.

Last but not least, the Deltas recognized R’ Club Child Care, Inc. for educational development. Incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1976, they responded to the need for high quality, accessible and affordable school age childcare and established the first cooperative community programs in Pinellas County.

R’Club programs emphasize the importance of the “four Rs” – Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness and Responsiveness to the needs of others. They provide extended learning opportunities, tutoring by certified teachers, homework assistance and an overall enhancement to each child’s academic experience.

Guest wore their finest hats while being entertained by saxophonist Carmena Fennell and inspirational dancer Ashley Mitchell. The “All you need and more” basket, valued at over $500, and the currency hat made out of dollar bills were among the raffled items.

The hat show began with models strutting their stuff to the theme to “Mission Impossible” wearing hats from Hats of Elegance (Carolyn Riggins, hat designer) and I & M Classy Hats Plus More, owned Michelle Holmes and Isay Gulley).

Chapter President Ruby Griffin thanked the community for their continued support in efforts to transform lives and empower the community. The event chair was Anita Lewis and event co-chair was Janice White.

Hats Off to You Luncheon proceeds benefit local scholarships and community service projects.

To reach Allen Buchanan, email abuchanan@theweeklychallenger.com

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