“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Baptist minister and civil rights activist.
Like many around the nation, members of BJU’s student body honored King’s memory by volunteering for community outreaches on Jan. 20, BJU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Sarah Rumpf, the director of the BJU Community Service Council, said that this year broke BJU’s MLK Day outreach records with a total of 770 service hours and 320 volunteers.
“I even had friends come up to me and be like, “I really want to volunteer for MLK Day, but I wasn’t able to because all the spots are filled up,’” Rumpf said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
Rumpf said the CSC hopes to expand the number of service opportunities for the next MLK Day since some people were turned away from volunteering this year.
The CSC organized 11 outreaches in Greenville for the MLK Day of Service. Of those outreaches, the Phillis Wheatley Center outreach was the largest with over 200 volunteers. With so many people coming out for the event, organizers broke up volunteers into a morning shift and an afternoon shift.
With the combined forces of the two shifts, the outreach facility was cleaned and organized, and the volunteers went out into the community to collect information for the Phillis Wheatley Center so that the center can better serve the community.
The Center’s Director of Programming, Nirobe Leaman, said the BJU outreach was an excellent opportunity for BJU and the Phillis Wheatley Center to work together to serve the community on MLK Day.
Another outreach went just across the street from BJU’s campus to volunteer at Shepherd’s Gate. This Miracle Hill ministry provides shelter for women and their young children who are experiencing homelessness.
Here, students served anywhere from organizing clothing closets and toiletries to folding sheets and cleaning stairwells. One of these volunteers was the BJU CSC Director Sarah Rumpf.
“The group of girls I went with worked so hard,” said Rumpf. “Honestly, the best part of community service is that you’re a community. You work with people who are similar to you, and you build those relationships.”
Emiliano Costilla, the operation director of the CSC, organized an outreach to the Greenville County Juvenile Detention Center.
The volunteers split into three groups; the largest organized the center’s library for the kids. Another organized the craft closets, and the last group deep cleaned the facilities.
Though this year volunteers did not get to work with the kids at the detention center, Costilla said that it would be a great thing to get people approved to volunteer in that aspect in the future.
King’s quote encourages individuals to look beyond themselves to the broader concerns of humanity in order to start living.
This sounds like a terrible burden to take on at face value, but as Christians, we know when we let our own problems dominate our lives, we become overwhelmed.
Once we lay our burdens at God’s feet, He gives us grace and strength to accomplish whatever task He has for us. This will motivate us to serve others.