Martin Luther King Jr. Day represents participating in something bigger than ourselves; a commitment to actively working towards achieving Dr. King's dream for a world of shared humanity. There is no better way to kick off the day, and approach the final stretch of our service marathon, than to read the testimony of one of last year's service marathon volunteers:
Guest Blog by Joy Oguntimein:
What was supposed to be a one-time experience a year ago has become part of my weekly routine. Inspired by Service Never Sleeps’ message to move from empathy to action, I chose to volunteer at Our Daily Bread (ODB) during the Service Never Sleeps (SNS) MLK Service Marathon in 2017. Our Daily Bread prepares and serves weekday breakfasts to those experiencing homelessness, out of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church’s kitchen. Since I enjoyed the experience, I decided to explore volunteering on a weekly basis. As a full time consultant expected to work 40-50 hours per week, I wasn't sure if I would be able to make a consistent commitment to volunteering, but I was determined to try. When I spoke to my supervisor, she encouraged me to adjust my Friday work hours and go for it.
When I volunteer at ODB, I am not a consultant doing charity work to build her resume. I am a chef cutting, chopping, peeling and transforming random donated food items into balanced meals. I am a chef to a middle-age women who has fallen on tough times, and has been abandoned by her family. I am a chef to a father who lives in a shelter with a toddler son. I am a chef to a lady with a warm and friendly personality, and her own sense of style. I am a chef to a man who, despite the labels society attempts to place on him, has million dollar confidence (and inspires me). I am a chef playing a small part in fighting hunger by preparing and serving meals.
Volunteering at ODB is a rewarding opportunity to do something meaningful and tangible to support those experiencing homelessness. Honestly, I do not know the true impact that serving breakfast makes. What I do know is that I have the privilege of making a tangible difference, bringing a smile, and a sense of value and worth to someone simply by saying, "Good Morning, Sir! Would you like French toast?"
2017 MLK Marathon Volunteer
Joy's testimony demonstrates the value of volunteerism. Service exposes us to issues, connects us to people, and ultimately motivates our commitment to social justice. Service builds allies. That is our goal, and we hope that you will join us in our Allyship movement of love-in-action beyond this important day.