Community in Action on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Last updated: January 26, 2023, at 3:25 p.m. PT

Originally published: January 26, 2023, at 3:24 p.m. PT

A collage of group photos of MLK Day volunteers across the Greater Seattle Area

This past Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 85 volunteers helped over 500 neighbors with meal boxes, freshly made burritos, weekend meal backpacks, and care packages. 

The idea behind it was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. He believed there shouldn’t be “hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table when man has the resources and scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life.” Before the cooking started, volunteers gathered to learn about Dr. King’s campaign and the critical role Black women leaders like Ella Baker played in the civil rights movement. We learned how food insecurity is an intentional systemic form of discrimination from Dr. Dorceta Taylor, a Yale professor. And heard about Tagan Engel, who shares how an “asset-based approach to understanding food systems acknowledges the complexity, resilience, and self-determination within these communities and reveals an entirely.” 

Fighting for health equity like this was a big part of the civil rights movement, and it’s also a big part of ours. It’s what our Whole Person Health mission is all about.  

Thanks to everyone who volunteered, including community members, staff from Bank of America, Starbucks, and our Y staff, who showed up in and for their communities by preparing and handing out food and care packages to hundreds of their neighbors. Thank you. And a special thanks to United Way, QFC, and Starbucks for donating the supplies that made these events possible. 

We recognize that one day of service is only one small piece of action that we can take to further our mission of health equity. Together, we are on our journey to center the voices of community as we focus on community-driven mutual aid to address systemic disparities. 



Category: Volunteer