8 Times FoodCorps Service Members Inspired Us to Act

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in serving others. On what would have been his 89th birthday, FoodCorps AmeriCorps service members across the country honored his life of service by volunteering in their communities. Named a National Day of Service by the government agency that operates AmeriCorps, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day on, not a day off. Here are eight actions that our service members took for their communities on Monday.

Feeding a crowd in Hawai’i

On Monday, Hawaiʻi service members came together to beautify the Waimea Elementary School garden and prepare a locally-sourced meal for 100+ volunteers. Students, families, teachers, staff, and community members spent the morning planting native plants, working in the garden, and painting the campus. The lunch featured produce from local farmers, including kalo (taro) harvested from the school garden that morning!

Long-distance gardening in Arkansas

A FoodCorps elementary school in Springdale, AR donated garden beds to another FoodCorps elementary school — all the way in Van Buren, 70 miles away! On the day of service, many Arkansas service members worked to get the garden beds taken down from Bayyari Elementary, transported 70 miles, and rebuilt at Rena Elementary. Rena had no garden beds before Bayyari’s donation, so this will make a huge difference to the school!

Walking for Peace in Washington, D.C.

Four D.C.-based service members supported the annual Martin Luther King Memorial Peace Walk & Parade, organized by the Coalition for Peace, a “group of individuals and non-profits dedicated to peace and positivity for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan communities.” Service members checked in the parade participants and helped direct them to the right place.

Caring for public land in California

California service member Allison Radoff organized an event with a local stewardship nonprofit, Friends of the Inyo. The organization recently transplanted some bitterbrush plants (a shrub native to the Western U.S.) in a restoration area. She planned to water the plants and pick up any trash left behind by visitors using the recreation area and campground. “I honestly expected it to be just me,” she said, “but over 15 people showed up!” Members of the local indigenous community came to help, and also held a prayer song and smudging of the land to acknowledge its importance. “It was a very positive event, and afterward everyone wanted to do another clean up event soon!”

Sorting food donations in Connecticut

Sixteen of our Connecticut service members volunteered together at Foodshare, an organization that works to alleviate hunger in greater Hartford by distributing large amounts of food to pantries & soup kitchens, mobile food trucks, nutrition education programs, and SNAP outreach. Half of the crew spent the morning sorting carrots (checking for moldy ones, throwing those in the compost, and then re-packing the good carrots), and the other half spent the afternoon sorting onions at Foodshare’s facility in Hartford.  Between that facility and their main headquarters in Bloomfield, there were over 100 volunteers sorting through food items!

Bringing in helping hands in North Carolina

Service member Imani Lane organized a garden work day at Fairview Elementary School, one of the schools where she serves.  She was joined by our other Guilford County, NC service member, Enekole Ogbole, and 21 volunteers!

Providing extra hands in Georgia

Georgia service members helped out at the West Broad Farmers Market, an Athens-based program that aims to build a neighborhood economy, expand access to healthy foods, and provide a retail outlet for farmers. They spent the day weeding, mulching, and cleaning up their garden!

Sorting clothing donations in Washington, D.C.

Another group of D.C.-based service members sorted and organized clothing donations at Bread for the City, a local nonprofit that helps Washington, D.C. residents living with low incomes to develop the power to determine the future of their own communities.