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Local Lodges Join Forces to Brighten the Holidays

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By Anthony Taylor

Celebrating the gift of giving this Christmas season the Fraternal Feeding coalition-headed by Hayward Robinson of Prince Hall Lodge #7-provided the community with  Christmas meals, blankets, clothing and Christmas gifts such as bikes, various toys, and heavy coats, for the upcoming winter.

The coalition composed of St. Andrews Lodge #16, Mt. Olive #71, Prince Hall #7, American Legion Post #710, and Arrowhead Elks Lodge #896, got together and held the event at the St. Andrews #16, & Mt. Olive #71 Lodge Hall located at 1034 W. 8th St. San Bernardino, CA on Dec. 24, 2007 from 11 am - 3 pm.

Job Corp volunteer Jim Belmin serves the needy.
The event attracted local business owners such as Hair Dynasty Beauty Salon (owners: Tyheshia Taylor & Carolyn Davis) who generously donate their time and resources for the cause, also Haven Fair of The Inland Empire Job Corps. brought out a group of Job Corps. trainees who also participated by donating much needed manpower for the cause.

Food was delivered to the following locations: D and 16th street (The Vista Center) 3rd and Sierra Way (Meadowbrook Park), 5th and Sierra Way (Mill Community Center), and 5th and "H" St., which are areas often frequented by some of our challenged community residents. Consistent with his calling, Frank Washington III (St. Andrews #16 and current president of the San Bernardino Black Cultural Foundation) led the food delivery drive to the community residents.   

Patton State Hospital pitched in to cook the food provided by the feeding coalition, and in exchange coalition members cleaned their kitchen and washed the dishes. Past Black Rose Award recipient Johnny McKay (Mt. Olive Lodge #71), with the Toys for Tots organization, coordinated the gathering and donating of toys, which were handed out to children by Feeding Coalition Pres. Hayward Robinson.

Volunteers sort, fold, and hang donated clothes.

Smiles were all around as the delicious smell of the food made all who attended thankful. And while sharing gifts was the order of the day, community residents also enjoyed an abundance of homemade dishes that included: meats, breads, candied yams, mashed potatoes & gravy, as well as a variety of desserts. Homemade dishes were prepared by Jesse Green (Prince Hall #17), Saundra Moss  (Amer. Leg. Aux. Unit #710) and served by many wonderful volunteers like: Gerry Johnson and Cynthia Williamson (Arrowhead Elks & Legion unit #710).  For the sick and shut-in,  Carl Deon  (St. Andrews Lodge #16) and  Mecca Johnson (Mount Olive Lodge#71) went out and delivered meals and gifts.

Lloyd Smith and his son hand out dinners to the needy at “D” and 16th Street.
The festivities brought out many participants in the community, from young little Lauryn Taylor (9 years old), to wise Darryl Williams (St. Andrew's Lodge #16) who spends his birthday every year for the event. Some dropped by to show support, and others volunteered their time and service for the event. Also, all the way from Arizona one of the founders of the Feeding Coalition, Bro. Doyle Washington (St. Andrew Lodge #16), stopped in to support and wish everyone well.

DJ Larry Jam also volunteered his time, and musical entertainment, that created a wonderful atmosphere which included soulful renditions of "Jingle Bells", "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire", and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".

As the year comes to an end the Fraternal Feeding Coalition wants to say thank-you to all for staying rooted in the community. This collaborative effort was founded in 1991, and this year marks 16 years of holiday work in the community. With an eye toward the future let's look forward to continued years of service rooted in brotherly love and charity. What a great thing when local organizations join together to give back to the people here in the community with food, clothing and toys in a festive environment.

DJ Larry Jam keeps the party festive.

For more information on other events sponsored by the Fraternal Feeding Coalition, as well as ways you can contribute towards positively impacting your community, please contact the President of the Feeding Coalition-Bro. Hayward Robinson at (951) 415-7509.

40+ Families Of Westend Family Kinship Center Celebrate The Holidays At Fontana Nissan

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Christmas dreams came true for families of the West End Family Kinship Center in Fontana thanks to Marc Wims, owner of Fontana Nissan, who hosted the holiday party December 20.

Now 30 members strong, the West End Family Kinship Drum Line and its Drill Team were center stage and had guests moving to the beat with a spectacular display and a spiritual performance by the Praise Team of North Fontana Church raised the roof!

Phillip Hazboun of Fontana Nissan presents 4-year old Angelina of Fontana with a gift during the West End Family Kinship Center holiday party at Fontana Nissan December 20, 2007.

More than 75 kids and their grandparents or relatives celebrated the season at the party hosted by Fontana Nissan. President of the dealership Marc Wims worked with sponsors to donate just under $5,000 worth of donations so that no child would go without a gift this Christmas.

"Fontana Nissan is about community as a core foundation and stepping stone," Wims said. Hosting the holiday celebration for the West End Family Kinship Center at our dealership is just one small way we all can contribute. It was great to see so much happiness and joy this afternoon and we are proud to be a partner in helping to make a difference in the lives of children. Also I wish to thank our fellow sponsors for helping make this day truly wonderful."

"People in our community have been a blessing to the Kinship Center," said Mary Hunter, a grandparent raising her three grandchildren. "Marc's (Wims) support has helped us so much. He was instrumental in helping to obtain approval for our federal grant by bringing us into the spotlight with the city and the press over the last year. The holiday party he hosts for our families and kids is a huge gift to the West End Family Kinship Center in so many ways."

Fontana Nissan is located at 16,444 South Highland Avenue in Fontana between Citrus and Sierra off Highway 210.

American Cancer Society Honors Phyllis Clark “Community Salute”

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Phyllis Clark of Riverside received the American Cancer Society's 2007 "Volunteer of the Year" award for her work with underserved communities at the American Cancer Society's annual "Community Salute" recently at the Mission Inn in Riverside. With more than 200 in attendance, the Society honored the charity's best and brightest for 2007.

"She's been to Capitol Hill to tell Congress to increase funding for research and to address disparities," stated Marcia Bundalian-Stephen, the Volunteer of the Year for 2006, who presented the award to Clark. "She's currently chairing our African American Community Outreach committee. She's going to make a difference - for her community and for all others who have to face this disease," she continued.

Phyllis Clark of Riverside (right) accepted the 2007 Volunteer of the Year Award at the American Cancer Society’s Community Salute at the Mission Inn in Riverside.

Jamil Dada of Riverside, recently diagnosed with cancer, received the "Celebration of Life" award. The "Celebration of Life" award is presented to a cancer survivor of note who makes significant contributions to his community in his or her chosen field, and exemplifies the fact that cancer is a disease from which you can survive - and thrive.

Bud Barnes of Riverside who lost his vocal chords to larynx cancer due to smoking, was also honored with a "Spirit Award" for his tireless work with schools, educating students in grade school, middle school and high school about the dangers of smoking.

Bob Ridzak of Clear Channel Radio in Riverside was honored with the "Media Circle of Hope Award" for his support of the Society's patient services programs and services.

Riverside Community Hospital was honored with the "Healthcare Partner of the Year" award.

Gram’s BBQ and Seafood

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By C.F. Hawthorne

20 Year Business Tickles Taste Buds and Palates

What would summers be without Gram's BBQ, or winters without Gram's deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner? Gram's BBQ has been around for almost twenty years. Not only feeding Inland Empire families and friends with that down home country BBQ, but many of Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego public events.

Evelyn and Robert Bratton, owners of Gram’s Palace in Downtown Riverside at 3527 Main Street
Gram's is known for that wonderful tasty smoked BBQ, on a warm summer day, with lemonade and chocolate cake. The location of Gram's BBQ, 3527  Main Street, Riverside, is extremely conducive to good conversation and laughter. Perfect for you to rest your mind and enjoy life's simple pleasures such as Sock-It-To-Me Cake and hot coffee. See Gram's has a flavor that goes beyond deep golden fried catfish and hush-puppies with a side of grits, Gram's offers a flavor that is almost fading fast, from our taste buds, but once you walk through the doors of Gram's BBQ, and the smell of the secret BBQ sauce, candied yams and collard greens hits your nose, those taste buds will come alive.

Imagine a plate of hot buttered grits and southern home fried potatoes with onions and bell peppers, nice fluffy eggs over warm grape jelly toast and steaming hot coffee, all sitting before you early Sunday morning. Gram's offers a place in time where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy a moment with great food and fantastic laughter. That is why it is no surprise that Gram's has been voted 3 out of 4 times the number one BBQ spot in the Inland Empire...because it is.

Gram's gives the Inland Empire what so many other restaurants are missing, the feel of family, friends and fun. Robert and Evelyn have put great eating back on the table with love, laughter and live music on Thursday nights. Gram's is a place where you feel at home.

Shriver Joined by 14,000 For The Annual 2007 Women's Conference

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By Lea Michelle Cash

If you asked me today, to tell you the most amazing person with an impressive story about their philantophic spirit, I would tell you the story of Oseola McCarty.  She was the elderly Black washing woman with a sixth grade education who donated her life's saving of $250,000 from washing White professional's clothing.  I cherished the day that I met her and I am humbled by the time that I spent with her before she died in Sept. 1999. 

After that, I'd tell you about a man named Dr. Muhammad Yunus. I learned of him in my communication studies class and I longed to meet the Nobel Peace Prize winner. My wish recently came true.  The worldclass roster of speakers at this year's California Governor and First Lady's Women Conference in Long Beach at the Long Beach Convention Center "Remarkable Lives. Remarkable Legacies. What's Yours? to name a few, of the 80 extraordinary individuals included: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, First Lady of Mexico Margarita Zavala, Diane von Furstenberg, Jamie Lee Cutis, Raven Symone, Joan Baez, Elizabeth Edwards, Michele Obama, Loretta Claborne,  Ed Begley, Jr. Vanessa Williams, Deborah Roberts, Martha Beck and Dr. Muhammad Yunus.   Sixty of the 80 individuals featured were dynamic world leaders.

This year's conference was designed and shaped to encourage women to think about their own legacies, assisting women to leave the conference with tools, inspiration and motivation to look inside themselves, identify the legacies they want to leave, and commit to creating them.  "We have taken this year's theme to heart and want to ensure that the conference leaves its own positive, lasting legacy on each participant and the community," said Erin Stein, Executive Producer of the Women's Conference. "The conference has truly grown from an inspirational day for thousands of women into a worldwide community that can unite us each and every day of the year."   

My dream of meeting Dr. Muhammad Yunus became a reality and I was inspired tremendously. Dr. Yunus the anti poverty and banking pioneer, in 1983, founded the Grameen Bank, which focused on helping women in his native Bangladesh, escape from poverty through micro-lending. His first loan, to a poor Jobra woman consists of $27.00 dollars from his own pocket. Then he made 42 more $27.00 loans to women in the village.  This act of kindness spearheaded the creation of an institution to lend to those women who had nothing. The results of his efforts are revolutionary, translating a vision into practical action toward the empowerment of poor women.  Along with being awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Yumus has been awarded 26 honorary doctorate degrees from around the world. To date over the last two decades Grameen Bank has loaned out over 6.5 million dollars to the poorest of the poor while maintaining according to news reports a repayment rate consistently about 98%.  Its been stated that Dr. Yumus inspired a global micro-credit movement reaching out to millions of poor women from South Africa to inner city Chicago.  Dr. Yumus stated, "The average loan is $150.00 dollars.  He continued, "Money going to poor women brings much more benefits to their families. So I focused on women to bring about social and economical change to their villages."

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BVN National News Wire