The Founder: Marlon McWilson
Growing up in Southeast San Diego there were plenty of times when the McWilson family was given assistance especially during the holiday season. As a boy growing up, Marlon didn’t really understand or appreciate the assistance they were given. When you’re young, you don’t appreciate a box of food and a frozen turkey at Thanksgiving. You only know that you are eating what you normally eat, oblivious to the fact that the bills are due and your mother is doing the best she can, but ultimately doesn’t have money enough to splurge on the Thanksgiving dinner. She needs a helping hand.
But as Marlon began to know himself as a man and figure out his path in life, he was humbled by his past. He analyzed his life and tried to figure out how he would make a difference by being a helping hand to someone else.
16 years ago he decided to step in the world of education as a teacher and it didn’t take long before he realized the students he taught were in fact HIMSELF, many years prior. They were experiencing some of the same issues that many families in the inner city go through on a daily basis. Now the question was how would he assist them.
On November 25, 1997, Marlon had an epiphany. He awoke in the middle of the night and decided he would give back by donating turkeys to families in Oakland. The next morning the McWilson, Friends and Family Network was conceived. Marlon called on family and friends to assist with the purchase and delivery of turkeys. Over the years the Network would grow, more families would be fed, and lives would be affected.
In 2004 the Network became inclusive of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. an international service organization. Marlon is the Basileus/President of his chapter, Mu Kappa Kappa, which was chartered in the 12th District on June 8, 1996. By adding the fraternity to the network it has allowed for more families to be served more people to get into the process of giving back to their communities. Over the past 21 years, the Network has fed over 26,000 families.