Northwestern Mutual Volunteers

In a speech delivered at the Finney Chapel at Oberlin College in 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the time is always right to do what’s right.” On Monday, Jan. 21 we all remembered Dr. King on Martin Luther King (MLK) Day. Volunteers from Northwestern Mutual—sponsored by the African-American Employee Resources Group—answered Dr. King’s call to do what’s right: three different groups used their holiday time off to give back to their community through the Gathering.

Volunteers fill up orange juice for breakfast at St. James
Volunteers fill up orange juice for breakfast at St. James

One group prepared and served the Gathering’s breakfast meal, a second group participated in a deep cleaning of the Gathering’s downtown site, and the third group did a thorough cleaning of the Gathering’s South Side Site. Volunteers were seen filling cups with orange juice, buttering toast, serving chicken, greeting guests, scrubbing floors, walls, tables and more.

 Volunteering as a family - scrubbing the Gathering's South Side site clean

Volunteering as a family - scrubbing the Gathering's South Side site clean

The groups wore matching shirts explaining their mission: “MLK a day on, not a day off.” Laila, a returning volunteer with Northwestern Mutual tells us that volunteering on MLK day is significant because it is a reminder that, “no matter what the day is, even if it is a holiday, essential components of life go on.” For Tony, another returning volunteer, MLK day is particularly special as he was present when MLK’s monument was erected in DC:

“Seeing the big pillar of rock was a powerful visual; A reminder that it is important for all of us to help out when we can.”

The St. James MLK day breakfast serving crew
The St. James MLK day breakfast serving crew

Besides, who knows, maybe we’ll end up having some fun along the way!

The South Side site's clean up crew having a good time
The South Side site's clean up crew having a good time