The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Monday, January 16th, marked St. James School’s 8th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Prayer, Service and Action.

Prayer service to begin the day

The day started with a prayer service led by School Chaplain, Fr. Andrew Kellner. Reading from Reverend King’s last Christmas sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, we heard his message, paused for reflections and learned what MLK Day is truly about, a hope for a better world and how to act in that hope. “How can one avoid being depressed when one sees with one’s own eyes evidences of millions of people going to bed hungry at night?…Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned?”

Our Dean of School Culture, Sarah Carroll, facilitated year 2 of our partnership with Outreach Program (http://outreachprogram.org/). The Outreach Program offers a unique way to fight hunger. Their core capability is facilitating food packaging events across the nation where hundreds to thousands of volunteers serve in an assembly line packaging simple, nutritious meals. This year our students, staff and volunteers packaged 12,000 nutritious meals.

Packaging 12,000 meals together

Exuberant volunteers from Univest Corporation, led by St. James School Board Member Michael Laing; Arch Street Presbyterian Church, and several weekly volunteers rolled up their sleeves, donned hairnets and aprons to jointly fight hunger.

Volunteers transformed our Community Room into a functioning meal packing facility. We divided into two teams, students, staff and volunteers formed an assembly line of packaging, taking turns scooping, measuring, sealing, labeling and packing boxes. Within two hours, we packaged 12,000 meals.

Lola (6th Grade) all geared up to work

We paused throughout the event to learn about hunger in our country and community. We heard from Child Hunger Ends Here, Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, and Kid President. As we continued packaging food, we discussed this knowledge with one another and plans to help in the future.

Throughout the upcoming weeks, Fr. Kellner will work within our community to help deliver these meals to those in need.

In addition to the meal packaging, our Young Men’s Peer Group joined Dean of Students, Fabian Austin, and Fr. Kellner in partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Northeast NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) to help winterize and make repairs on homes around the community.