Livingstone College observed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the way it was intended: A Day of Service.
The college fed homeless individuals of Rowan County at the Salisbury Civic Center on Friday, providing hot meals, toiletries and conversation.
The college gave away 41 packaged lunch boxes of turkey and cheddar sandwiches, roast beef and Swiss sandwiches, cookies, chips, fruit and water. They also served homemade chicken noodle soup with crackers.
Each person also received a bag filled with hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, tooth paste and other personal hygiene items.
The N.C. Counts Coalition, a nonprofit organization, were on hand distributing bags filled with hats, gloves, hand warmers and COVID-19 tests.
Livingstone College Culinary Arts students, under the leadership of chefs Elizabeth Marquez and Carl Brown, prepared and packaged the meals and served them from the college’s impressive and branded 53-foot mobile food unit.
The event was in partnership with the Salisbury Police Department’s victims/homeless program, in which Dennis Rivers is the program liaison.
“We reached people, but the goal is to reach more,” Rivers said. “We made an impact because if we feed one, that’s one less hungry person. We will continue to collaborate with Livingstone College and Rowan Helping Ministries to tackle homelessness.”
Social work majors, student leadership, football players, faculty and staff joined Livingstone President Dr. Anthony J. Davis throughout the two-hour event.
“Everybody can be great – because anybody can serve,” said Livingstone President Dr. Anthony J. Davis, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Today is about connecting to our community and showing them that we care.”
“This is really a big learning experience for me, being able to help and do God’s work,” said Shawnae Robertson, a junior social work major at Livingstone. “I just helped a lady take her food to her car and she had a child inside. It kind of hurt, but it’s good I could help contribute to her and her child.”
Student Nia McDougald, who aspires to be a licensed clinical social worker, said she has always had a compassion for homeless people. “I love being here today, knowing I can do something to make someone’s day better.”
“It’s nice to see our institution give back to the community to let them know we are here,” said Michael Gilyard, Livingstone SGA president.
Livingstone will also participate in Rowan County’s MLK Community Resource Fair on Jan. 14, and at the prayer breakfast on Jan. 16. Both events will be held at the Salisbury Civic Center.