Friday January 21, 2022 marked the Martin Luther King Day of Service initiated by a small team of AmeriCorps members, to provide groceries for over one 120 needy families from the Buffalo Dream Center.
“The Martin Luther King Observances in 2022 did not seem like the others in the past in Buffalo. Maybe the snowstorm, maybe apathy, or maybe it is the changing times,” said Aaron Iannello, Operations Director for Mission Ignite and its AmeriCorps program. ”AmeriCorps members approached me to do something to honor Dr King. We decided the best way to honor Dr King was to support the Buffalo Dream Center’s food giveaway to some of the neediest families in Buffalo. So, a team of AmeriCorps members from Mission Ignite, The Buffalo Dream Center, Fishers of Men and Women, and the Fruit Belt Access for All program decided to honor Dr. King by joining Buffalo Dream Center to serve 120 families during King week. I was blessed and honored to be able to help.”
The Buffalo Dream Center, AmeriCorps member Emilie McClinton, who facilitated the delivery of over 1,000,000 pounds of food during the pandemic, coordinated the Martin Luther King Week of Service project. “I signed up to AmeriCorps to tutor children at the Buffalo Dream Center. In short order Covid hit and the New York State Commission on National and Community Service only allowed AmeriCorps members in the field to work on food distribution and delivery, which was already part of the mission of the Buffalo Dream Center. Since that point, I have helped facilitate over 1,000,000 pounds of groceries to families in Buffalo and western New York. I am blessed to have the help of AmeriCorps and honored to do it in the memory of Dr. King.”
“I’m here today because I have an obligation to give back to my community, to be there in a time of need,” said Jaznique Terrell, AmeriCorps member with Fishers of Men and Women. “Dr. King paved the way and set an example for us all to stand together and be kind to one another. I’m devoted to carrying on his legacy as much as I can.”
“A leader gives vision, listens to others, and builds community,” said Dream Center AmeriCorps Member, Alexander Johns. “These are some of the examples of what a ‘servant leader’ is – Dr. King was one of the best examples. If we want to have a great impact on the world, we must start in our communities! There is an importance in helping each other, and seeing our community grow as one. Serving with AmeriCorps, I’ve seen the community begin to have a change, because we follow what some of the greats, like Dr King, Taught.”
“It’s been an incredible opportunity to serve in this way in remembrance of Dr. King. It’s important that his legacy isn’t just a day off work, but is a call to serve as he did,” said Mission Ignite AmeriCorps member, Conner Wilson. “In the pandemic and these extreme weather conditions, it’s rewarding to help distribute food to those in need.”
“As a Christian, we are to show people who have never seen God, that he exists through our Faith and Works! While famously remembered for his ‘Dream’ speech. Dr. Martin Luther King’s life personified Jesus’ example of his ultimate sacrifice for man’s sins of racism and injustice,” stated Executive Director of Fishers of Men and Women, AmeriCorps Alum, Michael Brundige. “We thought, what better way for the youth and members of Making Fishers of Men and Women Inc. and our partner Mission Ignite to show someone how to honor Dr. King, by coming together with no bias against race, gender, age, and economic diversity. We distributed over 120 bags of groceries and sanitizer to families, regardless of their race or social status. I personally do not believe that it could have been done in a more sincere or poetic way. His dream was realized with the help of our community partner the Buffalo Dream Center!”
Mission Ignite is the sponsor of the multiple AmeriCorps programs – wishing everyone who serves with us to emulate Dr King’s commitment to serving the community. For more information www.missionignite.org