MLK Service Day Tradition at Southern Adventist University Expands to Full Weekend


This year, Southern Adventist University expanded a tradition it began in 1993, moving from one day of service honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day to spending the entire weekend serving the community. Southern students and employees helped at assisted living facilities, schools, animal shelters, and much more. In fact, approximately 900 volunteers participated in more than 60 service projects over four days.

“We are so excited to serve the surrounding area in this way and to expand on a tradition that has had a big impact over the years,” said Melissa Moore, director of Humanitarian Engagement at Southern. “Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiration in countless ways, and it is a privilege to honor him as we turn our words into actions.”

One project involved collecting and distributing groceries for those facing food insecurity in the area around Southern. As an ongoing partnership between Southern and the Chattanooga Food Bank, community members in need are invited to campus twice a month to receive groceries. Over the MLK weekend, volunteers gathered more than 6,000 food items from community members, packed bags of groceries, and distributed them to those in need at a drive-through location on campus.

“The most impactful part for me was talking to the people who came for groceries,” said Bailey Krall, senior music major, who helped coordinate the project. “Several of them opened up about their challenges, such as job loss, health problems, and debilitating accidents. Everyone was so gracious, and their kindness left an impression on me. This experience helped me recognize our shared humanity.”
 This weekend of service aligns with Southern’s ongoing mission of helping students form a lifelong habit of serving others and engaging with their community.

“It is my great desire for Southern students to know without a doubt that they are uniquely called to serve,” Moore said. “It is the privilege of my office to walk alongside students in that calling. We want to create opportunities where students can get excited to continue this kind of service after they graduate.”