UNA hosts Martin Luther King Jr. Day service project

Students and volunteers march in the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march in January 2015. Student engagement will host a service day and memorial march Jan. 18.

by News Editor Anna Beahm

“Our goal is to package 30,000 bags of food,” Green said. “(The bags) also provide information about what you can mix with the food and ways to prepare it. That way when people come to pick up the food, they actually know what they can cook with it.”

Some of the bags will go to UNA’s “Feeding the Pride” food pantry, she said.

“Our food pantries run out of them so fast because people always come get them because they really enjoy them,” Green said.

All the food and packing materials are provided by Numana Incorporated. Numana’s mission is, “to empower people to serve through educational, hands-on packaging events,” according to numanainc.com.

After the service event there will be a memorial march in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. The march will begin around 12:15 p.m., depending on the number of volunteers.

The march will end at the Baptist Campus Ministry center where there will be a meal provided and guest speaker, Rev. Alvelyn Sanders.

Sanders produced the documentary, “Foot Soldiers: Class of 1964.” The documentary tells the story of the women in the Class of 1964 at Spelman College. The college participated in one of the largest coordinated civil rights marches in Atlanta.

Sanders is also the pastor of Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Florence.

This Monday, students can use their time for more than just a day free from classes.

The Office of Student Engagement, Leadership and Volunteerism is hosting a service day and memorial walk on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18, said Assistant Director of Student Engagement Bethany Green.

Director of the Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity Joan Williams said the theme of this year’s event is “Making a Difference in the 21st Century.”

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national day of service in remembrance of what he stood for,” Green said. “We definitely wanted to be a part of that.”

The event begins with check-in and pre-registration at 10 a.m. in the Guillot University Center Performance Center, she said. Students can register for the event online through OrgSync.

However, if students do not preregister, Green said they can register the day of the event from 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Sophomore Daniela Medina said she participated in service events on campus during her freshman year and plans to do more.

“I think volunteering is great because people donate their time to help someone and you also get to know people you’ve never met before,” she said.

Instead of going to other agencies across Florence, like last year’s event, volunteers will stay on campus for the service event.

All volunteers will work in the GUC banquet halls. Volunteers will package food in bags for food pantries in the Shoals, Green said. Each bag of food can provide up to six meals and is fairly healthy, she said. The cost per meal for each bag is about 20 cents.

“It’s something that we tossed around last year just because it’s difficult to bus people around and take people back and forth,” she said. “We’re hoping the turnout will be better this year because it’s starting later than it did last year. We’re actually going to all be together during the service.”

Green said she hopes to see over 100 volunteers at the event. There were about 100 at the event last year.

Students can come to the service event and not the march or vice versa.

She said the main point is to have students participating in Martin Luther King Jr. Day.