MLK DAY OF SERVICE
Author: Claire Hurd
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up on January 17. It is a day where we honor a man who worked his entire life to advance the rights and social justice of millions. We remember him for his moving speeches regarding the most basic human right: equality.
King believed that all people have a right to equal opportunity in life, regardless of color or class. In his Nobel Peace Prize speech he explained, “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
While King made notable and honorable progress in the fight towards reaching equality, we are here 53 years after his death and still sit far away from King’s ideological land of “equality and justice for all.” Evidence of this lies within the 38 million people in the United States living with food insecurity, facing unprecedented and systemic struggles.
Movements on issues of color continue to make an impact in our world. And while we at Second Harvest do not work in public policy or law, we recognize that those who struggle with hunger are even further removed from equal opportunities compared to someone else attempting to grow within a stable foundation.
Theoretically, anyone in America can invest in a higher education, get a great job and elevate their living. But for those whose reality is facing hunger, the concerns shift from improving quality of life, to simply surviving in their current state.
The finish line is the same for most, yet the starting line is not. When facing poverty or hunger, physical and emotional developments are negatively impacted, and these constraints further limit their ability to achieve academically. Perhaps transportation to a job poses an issue or their financial history threatens their ability to buy a house, or their health prevents them from holding a steady job. It is the foundation in which one begins with that so heavily influences the opportunities available. And those without a solid foundation will struggle with unequal opportunities.
At Second Harvest We believe that everyone has the right to health, and nutritious food is a key ingredient in the recipe for a healthy life. We envision a world in which every person – regardless of age, race, ability, income or status – has access to the food they need to live a life full of the activities and people they love. We are working towards this by providing locals with food and providing resources and other methods of meeting basic needs to neutralize the starting line on the path toward a brighter future.
While Second Harvest exists to feed local kids, families and seniors, we need help from the community to make it possible. King reminds us, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals” (Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story). We could not begin to make an impact on local hunger without the dedication of our volunteers and donors.
Together, we can work towards solving hunger and creating the promise land that King envisioned. You can get involved on the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by volunteering or learning more about a nonprofit of your choice. More information below.
Sources (Food insecurity statistics):