JACKSON, Tenn. – Jan. 22, 2014 – Members of the Union University community commemorated the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 20 by serving and learning in West Tennessee.
A group of Union volunteers spent the morning at ComeUnity Café, a non-profit café serving primarily organic, locally sourced meals in downtown Jackson. Volunteers learned about the café’s mission to love, feed and dignify while helping provide meals.
“The café provides wholesome food to people who can’t afford it and offers a local food spot for people who can,” said Kelsie Leaf, a sophomore Christian thought and tradition major who spent part of the morning washing and sanitizing dishes at the café. “I think what this café is doing is very important to Jackson, as I care very much about the food people put into their bodies. I believe God is using this place to do great things in Jackson.”
Several Union volunteers had previously served at the café for “Campus and Community: A Day of Remembrance and Service” in November. Keely Beasley, director of discipleship at Union, said that developing service-oriented partnerships with a handful of organizations in Jackson allows for effective service that benefits both Union volunteers and those receiving the help.
“We are eager to maintain these kinds of strategic volunteer opportunities within our city,” said Beasley, who also served at the café on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “So much of the spirit and mission behind ComeUnity Café is in line with Dr. King’s work within communities to promote the dignity of all men and women – an attitude we hope to promote by serving on this day.”
An additional group from Union visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to learn more about the civil rights movement. The museum was constructed at the former Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968.
The trip to the museum reminded participants why the day is important, Beasley noted.
“For members of the Union community who have participated, (this trip) has proven to be a significant time to reflect, learn and discuss the life of Dr. King and his contributions to the civil rights movement,” Beasley said. “We celebrate the legacy of Dr. King – his efforts, along with countless others, to lay down his life for his neighbor, to promote peace and justice and to rally for the freedom of man.”
By Beth Knoll