In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The time is always right to do, what is right.” For Kaiser Permanente we take this to heart and encourage volunteerism year-round. Our commitment to a meaningful annual MLK Day of Service is a time to renew that commitment to our members and the communities we serve. This year, volunteers participated in more than 1,000 hours of service across the region, with organizations that address homelessness, food insecurity and offer support services to women, children and veterans.
In the District and Suburban Maryland, we partnered with the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Life After Release and Shabach ministries. Kim Horn joined several volunteers to paint spaces at the Adrienne Safe Haven home for men, enhancing a shelter used for emergency housing.
In Northern Virginia, we visited Northern Virginia Family Services to paint an early Head Start classroom, making learning inviting for the youngest students and, we organized contents at the NVFS’ thrift store, to create a more dignified experience for many who rely on donations to clothe and feed their families. At the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Dr. McCarthy, associate executive director of MAPMG, spent the afternoon with volunteers from Kaiser Permanente and the local community, preparing non-perishable meals for a local aftercare program. Access to healthy, nutritious foods is especially important for developing children and it can be limited for many families who are also experiencing housing instability.
In greater Baltimore, we teamed up with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African- American History, which we have partnered with throughout the year, to support several service projects designed to help the women and families served by the Women’s Housing Coalition, “Foster a Fresh start.” Activities included the distribution of gently used clothing at a special “Pop-up” shop, career readiness training led by Kaiser Permanente’s human resources team, health screenings and more.
In total, volunteers prepared 780 snack bags for local children, painted 6 bedrooms, 2 hallways, 1 living room, 16 doorways and 1 classroom, sorted more than 170 books, sanitized dozens of toys, stacked shelves with staple food and pantry items, delivered important services for more than 85 women and children and created 150 wellness packets for men and women experiencing homelessness. Collectively, our service made a difference.