NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From parades to praise and worship, many in the North Texas community gathering Monday to remember the slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We believe one of the best ways to really live out and remember Dr. King is by serving, is by engaging,” says Pastor Bryan Carter, Senior Pastor of Dallas’ Concord Church. “He gave his entire life to service, he gave his life to improving the causes and the right for us. So for us, it is a day on, not a day off.”
So volunteers began lining up early to cover holiday deliveries for Meals on Wheels, serving about 200 seniors.
“Anytime I can help someone else in need, I’m there,” says Jackie Stimpson.
Stimpson has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for two decades, but says it’s still great to have so much company.
“It’s gratifying to see so many come out and want to give their time and attention to those in need,” said Stimpson.
The massive volunteer effort has become a tradition at Concord, drawing volunteers from churches and charities across the area.
“It’s for everyone,” says Stephanie Logan, explaining what drew her to the effort to honor Dr. King’s legacy. “He (MLK) was talking about how we should all love and treat one another.”
“I think Dr. King would love the fact that service is being highlighted,” says Pastor Carter. “It is so important to care for seniors and others that are often left out and left behind. So important. It matches what his dream was all about.”
Many families say the volunteer effort helps teach the next generation why the movement still matters.
Middle school student Jaeden Brown was delivering meals with her dad.
“I think they’re going to be happy,” says Brown of the seniors waiting for the deliveries. “That somebody young like me is helping the community.”
Megan Gearing and her family were part of a group from Highland Park United Methodist Church.
“Just to get out there and serve and teach the kids that we also have to help others,” says Gearing. “We need to get out there and make a difference.”
That’s why the Hillman family makes the drive to Concord each year from the Plano area.
“I bring everyone, my two boys, my niece, their friend,” says Teann Hillman, who calls the volunteer effort “absolutely a teaching moment.”
She also says she has no doubt that they love it.
“I particularly volunteer to pick up at Concord, because we deliver the meals on the south side,” says Hillman, adding it’s important for suburban children to see that many in the community have not escaped the struggles that fueled a movement.
Her 11-year-old niece Anaya Gray was asked why she wanted to spend her school holiday volunteering.
“It’s better seeing other people happy,” Gray said.
The African American Pastor’s Coalition annual MLK worship service was also held at Concord.
An annual boys conference at the church Monday focused on mentoring and encouraging the teens to make good choices.
They even learned how to tie a tie.