Food insecurity is a significant problem across the United States and has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. While food banks typically provide for more than 37 million Americans each year, in 2020 this number skyrocketed to more than 60 million.

Against this backdrop and for the sixth year in a row, The Arc teamed up local chapters of The Arc and other community organizations to lead MLK Day of Service events throughout the weekend. Through a grant from AmeriCorps, The Arc and its partners designed inclusive volunteering initiatives that helped reduce food insecurity in their own backyards. These projects also served as a living testament to the words of Dr. King “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve” by demonstrating that volunteers with disabilities are capable and eager to serve their communities alongside volunteers without disabilities.

The 2022 MLK grantees include AHRC Nassau, AHRC NYC, Ridge Area Arc, STAR, Inc., The Arc Harrisonburg and Rockingham,  The Arc Muskegon, The Arc Nature Coast, The Arc of South Carolina, The Arc of the Quad Cities Area, The Arc Oklahoma (TARC), UCP Seguin, and Youth Impact.

So far, these dedicated organizations tackled hunger in a variety of ways including:

  • Partnering with local professional chefs to host online cooking classes for individuals with disabilities
  • Donating goods to local food kitchens
  • Assembling boxed meals and backpacks for school children
  • Executing drive-through and mobile food truck food drives
  • Delivering meals to home-bound seniors

The Arc has made tremendous strides in the fight against hunger in communities across the country. Last year, an army of over 1,000 volunteers donated close to 12,000 hours of their time to assure 26,300 of their fellow citizens had nourishing food on the table. This year we are striving to make an even bigger impact!

For these organizations, MLK Day is only the beginning of their efforts to eliminate hunger in their communities. These grantees have now turned their attention to implementing additional service events in the coming months that will continue to collect and distribute even more food. Not only do these volunteer opportunities strengthen communities, they also demonstrate the value in volunteering all year long, not just on MLK Day. In an effort to create even more year-round volunteer opportunities, The Arc is simultaneously leading another AmeriCorps grant, the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, dedicated to emergency preparedness and helping communities be better prepared in case of disaster.

Want to join us?  You can search and sign up for volunteering events in your area here.

The post Combating Hunger through Inclusive Volunteering for MLK Day 2022 appeared first on The Arc.