March 27, 2020

Serving and Connecting the Community

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By: Ore Oluwole

As the coronavirus threatens health and upends daily life throughout the world, the UofSC Alumni Association is spotlighting alumni making a difference to showcase the strength and resilience of the Gamecock community.

In a time when the novel coronavirus has upended daily life, University of South Carolina alumna, Kassy Alia Ray, is working to help those in her community through her nonprofit, Serve & Connect.

The organization was founded on the premise of igniting positive change through police and community partnerships after Kassy’s late husband, officer Greg Alia, was killed in the line of duty in 2015.  From the pain of that experience, Kassy found a way to carry on and honor her late husband by establishing the organization which works directly with law enforcement, community stakeholders and citizen leaders. With these groups Kassy seeks to improve neighborhoods challenged by poverty, crime and neglect by focusing on building trust, optimizing collaboration and fostering a shared sense of pride.

Kassy is stepping up during this challenging time to create a pathway to support community partners through the Compassionate Acts Program (CAP). Donations to this program go directly to purchasing items like shelf-stable food kits, hygiene supplies and disinfectant for police officers to distribute to communities in need. Recently, Kassy was out in the community and delivered nearly 400 COVID-19 response kits to police throughout the Midlands to distribute to local neighborhoods.

“The coronavirus pandemic can be scary and overwhelming, but we can all take actions to support one another through small acts of kindness,” Kassy says. “That is what we are seeking to do through our Compassionate Acts Program COVID-19 response. By providing police with tools to help people in need, we can spread support and hope."

The work Kassy does has not gone unnoticed. Recently, she was named one of TIME’s “27 People Bridging Divides Across America” for her efforts in building trust between officers and local neighborhoods.

Now Kassy is working to continue helping police departments and the neighborhoods they serve during this unprecedented time to reinforce that together, we are better.

To learn more about the organization’s COVID-19 response fund, visit serveandconnect.net

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