More than 100 Marian University students, faculty, and staff commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service on Monday, January 18.
This year, the day focused on food insecurity (a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food) and students participated in service at four local community organizations combatting hunger: The Cupboard of Lawrence Township, Peaceful Grounds, Midwest Food Bank, and Second Helpings.
“My experience taught me that there is much more work to be done. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’ I believe that in the case of food insecurity, volunteering and taking time out of your day to help those less fortunate than yourself is the first step on a staircase that we can only climb together, united,” said Jonas Smith, a freshman majoring in applied mathematics.
Inspired by Dr. King and his legacy, Destiny Patterson, a junior majoring in secondary physical education, has participated in the day of service for the past two years.
“I’ve learned about how many people in our community are suffering from food insecurities. During one of the planning meetings, an article was shared that highlighted some statistics in Indianapolis—roughly 100,000 people in Marion County are food-insecure, including 51,000 children,” said Patterson. “As a college student, there’s not much I can do right now but commit to serving when the opportunity is presented and hope for change in the future.”
Under the direction of Jeanne Hidalgo, campus minister of service and social justice,the university started the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in 2012 with 40 students. Since, groups like 21st Century Scholars and Student Activities have gotten involved too and the number has grown each year with a record 112 participating in 2016.
“Service is the tool we use to educate and grow awareness,” said Hidalgo. “It is urgently important for us to recognize that the civil rights and poverty issues which Dr. King fought to change continue to show up in our world today. Service to those affected begins to build that awareness.”
For the past four years, Marian University has received a $1,000 grant from Indiana Campus Compact to support the day of giving.
“It is vital for the Marian University community to participate in service to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to provide service opportunities that empower individuals and invest in our surrounding community,” said Tonya Hall, director of 21st Century Scholars at Marian University.