More than 200 university students and community volunteers carried on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday when they spent hours volunteering at the sixth annual MLK Day of Service. Students from Belmont, Lipscomb, Trevecca Nazarene, Vanderbilt, Tennessee State, Fisk and Middle Tennessee State Universities gathered at Second Harvest Food Bank to celebrate and honor King through a day of community service. Mayor Megan Barry, Representative Harold Love Jr. and Congressman Jim Cooper attended the event’s kick-off and spoke to students about the importance of service as a way to honor King’s legacy.
Belmont’s Director of Service-Learning Tim Stewart said the Day of Service is one of the more important events his office plans as students from all over the city are able to come together and honor Dr. King’s beliefs by directly impacting their community. “It’s an honor to play a part in commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. King by facilitating an opportunity for the universities in our great city to come together and address issues facing all of us. Belmont could not be more pleased to participate. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
The Corporation for National and Community Service, through North Carolina Campus Compact, awarded Belmont a $1,500 grant to facilitate the service projects. Throughout the day, students volunteered at one of six sites across the city and participated in service projects aimed at hunger relief and veteran care. At Second Harvest Food Bank and Feed the Children, students packed and sorted more than 34,000 lbs of donated food, and 15 pallets of personal care items. Others prepared the Wedgewood Community Garden for spring planting at The Nashville Food Project. At The Sweet Potato Drop students sorted and bagged 9,000 lbs of sweet potatoes, while those assigned to Trevecca’s Urban Farm tended plants in green houses for the coming season. At Room in the Inn, students joined veterans in completing a collaborative art project.
The opportunity to serve alongside other students is directly in line with Belmont’s mission to serve and transform the Nashville community as students are encouraged to pursue service opportunities during their time on campus. Student and event participant Alexis Humbrecht said “Belmont stresses service throughout Nashville because it is our community. Nashville gives so much to Belmont, and Belmont does all that it can to give back to Nashville. Anytime I serve, I am reminded that most of my problems are trivial and that I could be spending my time in better, more efficient ways.”
The MLK Day of Service is a nationally recognized event intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move individuals closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.