Honoring MLK Jr. Through Acts of Service

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Honoring MLK Jr. Through Acts of Service

Summary: 
Melissa Rogers provides reflections on the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day and community service in Washington, DC.

On Martin Luther King Day, I had some terrific opportunities to see how various communities in the District of Columbia are coming together to serve others and promote the common good.

serving foodThe morning began bright and early at Miriam’s Kitchen, an organization housed in the basement of Western Presbyterian Church that serves high-quality and nutritious meals to people who are homeless. Alongside Administrator Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency and many other volunteers, we prepared and served a hearty breakfast on this bitterly cold morning. Miriam’s Kitchen is also dedicated to reducing food waste as they serve the homeless. Their food waste reduction initiative fits perfectly with EPA’s newly launched Food Steward’s Pledge. The campaign invites faith and community groups to sign a pledge to reduce food waste and provides a toolkit that describes ways for these organizations to do so. If your organization would like to take part in the Food Steward’s Pledge, please visit this link.

Next, I headed to the New Bethel Baptist Church to join volunteers at the National Urban League Thursday Network’s 16th Annual MLK Blanket and Toiletries Drive. This event was also targeted towards providing care for the homeless. We assembled donations of personal care products, sandwiches and blankets to be distributed throughout the District of Columbia, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. The Thursday Network brings together young professionals from across the city to serve others, and New Bethel Baptist Church has its own rich tradition of service to its community. On a frigid morning like the one on MLK day, these events reminded me how important it is for us to find new ways to work together to serve those who may not have shelter or food.

I want to thank Miriam’s Kitchen, Western Presbyterian Church, the National Urban League’s Thursday Network and New Bethel Baptist Church for the work they do every day and for allowing me to take part in it. Together, we will continue to seek to honor Martin Luther King’s legacy. As President Obama said in his Martin Luther King Jr. Day Proclamation, “As Americans of all races and beliefs come together on this day of service to honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., let us pledge to recognize the common humanity of all people, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born.”

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