As we prepare to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy Monday and what would have been his 87th birthday, it’s important that we recommit ourselves to keeping his dream of justice, service and hope alive.
Among the many legacies that King left us was an unrelenting dedication to serving others. He said that “life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”
King acted on those words throughout his life and inspired others to do the same.
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love,” he said.
To honor King’s passion to serve others, General Mills is bringing together employees from 15 Minnesota companies to take time to give back on MLK Day and throughout the week as part of the Corporate Community Service Coalition.
Now in its second year, the coalition is organized in tandem with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Breakfast, which is hosted each year in partnership by the General Mills Foundation and United Negro College Fund. Companies making up this year’s coalition include: 3M, Accenture, Ameriprise, Aveda, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cargill, Ecolab, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Medtronic, Mortenson Construction, Target, U.S. Bank and UnitedHealth Group.
As chair of the 2016 MLK Breakfast Committee, my hope for this year’s coalition is to celebrate and honor King by making a positive impact in our community. Collectively, we hope to inspire our friends, colleagues and neighbors to take action as well.
By engaging nearly 500 employees to support those in need across the Twin Cities, the coalition will complete 1,000 hours of service on MLK Day and throughout the following week. The more than 2,000 attendees at the 2016 MLK Breakfast event will also be encouraged to give back throughout the week.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to spend time at local food banks, homeless shelters, community centers, meal programs and more as part of the coalition. Projects are being coordinated by HandsOn Twin Cities, a full-service volunteer center that promotes and facilitates volunteerism while improving the community’s ability to create more impact with the time generously given by volunteers.
On MLK Day, we also honor King’s vision of hope. Yet, as he well knew in his lifetime, hope can only take you so far — unless you are willing to act.
Whether you choose to pack food at the food shelf, serve a hot meal at a homeless shelter or donate your time and talents to a cause close to your heart, action makes all the difference.
King once said: “I still have a dream that one day all of God’s children will have food and clothing and material well-being for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, and freedom for their spirits.”
Some 50 years later, we continue to have a long way to go to achieve his dream. However, I believe that by serving others, inspiring hope and driving action we can achieve just that.
So this MLK Day, ask yourself what King likely asked himself each and every day: What are you doing for others?
Learn how you can get involved by visiting www.mlkbreakfast.com/service.