By Ava Dunwoody | Arts & Life Editor
On Baylor’s campus, Jan. 18 marked “a day on, not a day off” of school for students participating in the annual MLK Day of Service. From virtual fundraising opportunities to a drive-by collection site, faculty and students were encouraged to serve their community.
“MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community,’” according to Baylor’s website for the event.
Doriann Beverly, senior coordinator for Baylor community services, volunteered with other members of the office of community engagement at the donation collection site on MLK Day. She said normally volunteers are sent throughout the community to work in different gardens across the county with the Heart of Texas Herb and Garden Coalition, but COVID-19 regulations don’t allow for in-person service.
Instead, Beverly said the national branch of MLK Day of Service encouraged virtual events and drive-thru collection sites. Baylor’s take on virtual volunteer opportunities included volunteering to write transcriptions with the Smithsonian, proofread with Project Gutenberg, track walking or running miles with Charity Miles and play an online word game to raise money with Freerice.
The main event of Baylor’s MLK service day was the drive-by collection site located in front of the Martin House on Baylor Ave. Students wanting to donate were instructed to sign up for a time slot through a form on Baylor Connect and to stay in their vehicles during the donation.
“We have agencies that need these items,” Beverly said. “We are donating to agencies like Family Abuse Center and G.W. Carver [Middle School]. They had a request for coats for their students. We also had a request for items for our pets, so the Animal Birth Control Clinic … will share the items with different shelters in the area.”
For the One Warm Coat Campaign, requested items included new or gently worn coats, new hats, scarves, socks and gloves. For the Pet Supply Drive, items included wet cat and dog food, new or gently used large towels, collars, leashes and pet clothes.
Colorado Springs junior Grace Hall donated for the Pet Supply Drive from her car early Monday morning and said she heard about the drive from her Baylor equestrian team coach who encouraged the whole team to participate.
“I have a dog of my own, and I think it’s really important to give back. It’s a good cause, too,” said Hall. “I hope that more people can come out and it can have a far outreach.”
Besides the perk of doing good in the community, Beverly said, students like Hall can receive service hours to their respective organizations by participating in the drive. The collection will continue through Thursday and students can sign up for a time slot through Baylor Connect.
“Every day is a good day to get out and serve, but this is not a day off. It’s a day to stop and take stock of where you are. We are blessed to be here today,” Beverly said. “It’s a great way to honor Dr. King’s legacy of the work that he did, fighting for other people and giving up time to other people, so why not today?”