By Brother William Langford
Photography by Bro. Furman Glenn
Louisville, KY (December 19, 2023)
In a heartwarming display of community spirit, brothers of the Theta Omega chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. hosted their annual Randy's Kitchen banquet for the unhoused men of the Chestnut Street YMCA on the evening of Saturday, December 16th from 6:00 to 9:00pm. This annual tradition, named after the event's original champion Brother William Randy Barnett, saw 45 brothers of Theta Omega chapter serving up a holiday inspired home-cooked buffet to the 30 residents currently housed in the YMCA.
The Chestnut YMCA continues to be the venue of choice for this event due its long history of support for the Louisville African American Community. The banquet, true to its "kitchen" namesake, offered a generous spread fit for a holiday feast. An abundant array of meats, chicken, vegetables, and salads graced the tables, alongside an assortment of desserts and beverages that were made available buffet style. But the warmth extended beyond the food. Brothers from Theta Omega not only prepared the meal but also served the residents with smiles and genuine conversation, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared joy. Several young men from the Dixie Elementary School Men of Quality program aided in serving the food as well.
"It's more than just a meal," shared Bro.Freddie Brown, a Theta Omega member and Executive Director at the YMCA. "We get to hear their stories, learn about their struggles, and remind them that they're not alone, especially during the holidays."
Indeed, the stories shared around the table were a testament to the impact of Randy's Kitchen. For many, the simple act of sharing a meal and conversation with caring individuals offered a much-needed reprieve from the loneliness of the season.
Beyond the food provided, Theta Omega also served another area of need by handing out Christmas stockings filled with winter essentials. Personal hygiene kits, socks, gloves, and hats will provide warmth and comfort for the men in the winter months ahead.
Brother Bryan Barnett, Theta Omega’s Social Action chairperson spoke about the meaning of this event to the chapter. "It is always a wonderful feeling to be able to give back, but to know that we are able to feed men that are trying to get back on their feet is a blessing.”. Brother Barnett’s father Bro Randy Barnett, though limited by challenging medical issues, was able to attend again this year. Barnett added, “Being able to see this event that he helped start to continue to thrive and knowing that I’m able to continue his legacy is everything to him. He kept saying what a wonderful job”
This year's Randy's Kitchen banquet was a resounding success, reminding us that even the smallest acts of kindness can make a major difference.Theta Omega's unwavering commitment to serving the Louisville community is evident not only in Randy's Kitchen, but also throughout the year. From mentoring youth programs to participating in neighborhood clean-up initiatives, the brothers from Theta Omega consistently embody one of the fraternity's core values of Uplift and Service in every event they sponsor