In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I participated in a local service project. As I've mentioned before, I serve on our city's Multiculturalism Committee and this was our first event. We partnered with the university's Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and the Ada Sunrise Rotary Club to host a city-wide trash pickup, lunch and short program.
Now, if you know me at all you know that I don't *do* mornings if I can help it and I really don't do cold weather. So I think you'll all agree that for me to leave the house by 8:30 a.m. when it was only 27 degrees in order to pick up trash meant I truly felt this was important. I did, however, volunteer to be the one to pick up the barbecue and help make sure things were set up for the lunch - indoor activities. Breathing cold air often sets off my asthma and I'm doing everything I can to avoid my usual winter attack that puts me on breathing treatments and steroids almost every year (and sometimes in the E.R.). Still, when I saw all of these folks show up in the cold:
I had to do at least a little. I grabbed one of the big trash bags and headed to the alley behind our public library. Every time I go to the library and then drive down that alley I am saddened by all the trash. I figured it was relatively sheltered from the wind so it would be a good place for me to work. This is what it looked like:
And here it is after I completely filled my big trash bag:
I did have to quit at that point, however, because I was wheezing. Fortunately after getting out of the cold and taking a couple of puffs from my inhaler I was fine. I then went over to the Episcopal church where the lunch would be taking place. I helped for a bit and then another committee member and I went to Pigskin's to pick up the barbecue.
I counted approximately 50 people at the luncheon. The food was good and the program was interesting. Calvin, our committee Chair, served as the Master of Ceremonies. A couple of students spoke, as well as the Director of Campus Life, President of the University, and Vice President of the Rotary Club.
The mayor issued a proclamation:
And we finished up the program by singing "We Shall Overcome":
And guess how many bags of trash were collected? 320! Isn't that fantastic? I am so very proud of these people (mostly college students) who gave up their time in order to give back to this community. That's what it's all about, folks.
"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."
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
*All photos are mine with the exception of the group shot at the top. I "borrowed" it from the Facebook page of Dr. Christine Pappas, who deserves most of the credit for organizing this event.