Indiana State students honor MLK with day of service

·3 min read

Jan. 18—As the song "Walking on Sunshine" played in the background, dozens of Indiana State University students worked assembly-line style Monday morning to prepare and pack macaroni and cheese food kits that will help feed the hungry.

Classes were not in session, but instead of sleeping in on a cold, cloudy morning, the students participated in ISU's Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, which included packing meal kits at Tirey Hall's Heritage Ballroom as part of the Million Meal Movement.

Students on each side of a long table had different duties. Some measured the macaroni, put it in a funnel which emptied into a package, while others added scoops of powdered cheese. The mac and cheese packages were then measured by weight, sealed and placed in a box.

D'Ahnie Bridge and Dejah Haywood, both ISU seniors from Chicago, decided to participate with their sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., in the Million Meal Movement, which seeks to feed the hungry and teach the importance of volunteerism. The two students placed completed food kits in boxes.

"My sorority is all about giving back," Bridge said. "We like to help the community any way that we can."

As a social work major, Haywood understands the importance of advocating for and helping others "in any way, shape or form."

At the other end of the same table, ISU junior Emily Mann placed scoops of macaroni into a funnel. "They gave us the day off ... and it's a good day to give back," said Mann, president of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

Also deciding to make it a day "on," and not "off," was Dominik McLemore, a junior from Gary who is involved with Black Student Union. He believes it's important to give back on MLK Day "because of all the things he fought for." The day of service is an opportunity for all students to work together and "be united as one," he said.

Joining the students was Tradara McLaurine, a graduate of ISU and an adviser to Delta Sigma Theta. "Community service is one of our foundations. They are serving today, so I am serving with them" and honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, she said.

The students were expected to pack about 16,000 total meals for the Million Meal Movement, with part of the meals benefiting local agencies, said Alex Whitmore, event organizer and program coordinator at ISU's Center for Community Engagement.

ISU students were involved in other service activities as well. At the Terre Haute Children's Museum, they assembled children's activity kits. At the Life Center (Shine), they sorted clothing donations. At the Vigo County Public Library, they pulled books from shelves and other tasks.

More than 100 students volunteered throughout the community to honor Martin Luther King's memory and legacy, Whitmore said. In addition, the Charles Brown African American Cultural Center is conducting events throughout the week, including a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Dede Plaza fountain.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.