RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Honoring the life Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday for thousands means living exactly like he would, serving others.
Black Greek organizations and days of service go hand in hand, wagon after wagon.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
That same spirit of service isn’t lost on Shaundelyn Emerson, the president of the Zeta Tau Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
"So usually when people are resting or using this as a day off, we are still working because everyone can be great because everyone can do service," Emerson said.
On a day many kicked off breaking bread, Emerson and her ladies were packing pantries at Bridges of Riviera Beach, an organization funded through the Children’s Services Council helping parents of kids newborn through eight ensure they’re healthy and strong.
"That’s the rent we pay on this earth. We need to be of service because I feel like I'm so blessed, I feel like I need to bless others," said Carlos Edwards.
For Edwards and his wife Shaniqua, that came in the form of childcare vouchers and workshops. But the biggest blessing he said was shining a positive light on his community.
"It’s so easy to talk about the child that got shot by a stray bullet or the police that ended a chase with a bad car accident, but very rarely do you get to see the people in the community, from the community, help the community," Edwards said.
Bridges of Riviera Beach director Kenyon Link said communities everywhere have been struggling through the pandemic so any help is more than appreciated
"You can walk into a grocery store right now and there’s nothing on the shelves, on the cubbies, and it’s really tough to get things. And if you’re someone who’s not as fortunate it can be a little more challenging," Link said.
In an economy crippled by shipping and grocery shortages, what the ladies of Zeta Tau Omega have been able to do in two days is impressive, everything from diapers to soap everyday items that are sure to go a long way.
Link’s community oriented approach to building pillars in the community is working and inspiring people like Edwards.
Right now I'm going out to be a licensed clinical social worker because of the impact that he made on my life," Edwards said.
Emerson and her sisters are more than happy to help the cause.
"He literally gave his life so I just believe this is the least way we can honor MLK," Emerson said.
A day of service well spent, furthering a legacy of change.