The Power of Belonging: A Community Comes Together
By Rachel Baker
Our community of Midland, Michigan, is a community that works hard to create inclusive opportunities for everyone. This past January, The Arc of Midland received a grant to organize and execute our first MLK Day of Service project. With the help of over 175 volunteers, we packaged and delivered food to over 1,000 people on one of the coldest days of the year.
The 175+ volunteers braved the cold to help direct traffic and deliver food. One man, Tom, came to receive food and ended up volunteering the entire day!
“I had no intentions of staying to help, but once I saw everyone working together to help people like me, I had to stay and be a part of giving back to the community that was giving to me.”
The Arc of Midland is lucky to be widely supported by many businesses, clubs, and organizations in our community that pitched in on this effort. The Great Lakes Loons (a local Minor League Baseball team) played host to the chapter’s Day of Service event. Not only does the team provide a safe, accessible, and welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy, but they also employ many people with disabilities throughout the year.
Another crucial partner was Hidden Harvest. Since 2016, we have partnered together through a variety of programs and projects—including a free pantry stocked weekly and supporting the community together when a fire ravaged an apartment complex where many people with disabilities and seniors lived. During this year’s MLK Day event, they provided food assistance, transportation, volunteers, and logistics for packaging of the food.
The Arc of Midland’s MLK Day work brought thousands of people together in service to build a stronger community. Together, every partnering organization, volunteer, and person receiving assistance honored Martin Luther King Jr. and his vision of belonging.