"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, January 16th, people from all over the United States participated in the MLK Day of Service, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King by giving back to their communities by volunteering with various organizations. Lutheran Services of Georgia's Refugee Services program held its annual Lutheran MLK Day of Service in conjunction with the national event. More than 200 volunteers - adults and children, groups and individuals - assembled at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Stone Mountain to help with service projects benefiting refugees and immigrants served by LSG.
Rice for Refugees
Volunteers spent the morning portioning and repackaging more than 4,200 lbs of rice into family-sized bags. The bags of rice will be distributed to refugee families that Lutheran Service of Georgia is resettling in the Atlanta area. The rice, typically a staple of many refugees' diets, will provide comforting and nutritious first meals for refugee families during an intense transition period in their lives.
Letters of Hope
Volunteers also wrote letters to immigrants currently being detained in detention facilities. Detainees often have few to no visitors and little contact with the outside world. Volunteers were invited to be a compassionate presence by writing letters of hope and encouragement to immigrants in detention facilities in Georgia and by creating cards for mothers and children in family detention centers in Texas.
Following the service projects, many volunteers attended an advocacy training session led by Jessica Jones, Esq., Acting Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), Rev. Kevin Jacobson, Assistant Director for Outreach, LIRS, and Stephanie Ali, LMSW, Communications and Policy Coordinator, New American Pathways. The training outlined methods and talking points for attendees to engage with their elected representatives and to advocate for refugees and immigrants.
Thank you to all of our volunteers who attended the 2017 MLK Day of Service. If you were unable to attend but are interested in volunteering with LSG's refugee services department, please email Melanie Johnson.