Right now, I am sitting in my living room watching a documentary on the final days of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, supporting the plight of sanitation workers on strike in Memphis. In the last speech of his life, he rephrased the story of the Good Samaritan stating, “The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’ ‘If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?’ That’s the question.”
This afternoon, on my way to drop off meals for a self-advocacy meeting for adults with disabilities, I saw an awesome moment on the street. It has been a stormy day, and just as I was heading out to Life Navigators, the rain began again. As I pulled up to a red light, a small elderly woman on the corner lost hold of her umbrella in a gust of wind; she watched sadly as it tumbled into the street. A car came through the intersection; its driver saw the umbrella and the woman on the corner and noticing that no one was coming behind it, he stopped the car. A young man jumped out into the rain, grabbed the umbrella, which had made its way across two lanes of traffic and returned it to the now smiling woman on the corner.
To rephrase Dr. King, if he stops to help this woman in need, what will happen to him? He got wet in the rain, a moment of discomfort before returning to his car. What would have happened to her if he had not stopped? How long would she have had to walk in the rain? Thankfully we don’t have to wonder because of a kind young man.
It makes me step back to think about the ‘sanitation workers’ that are in my life and in the lives of our student volunteers. They are the homeless and at-risk homeless members of Repairers of the Breach, making important advances in their lives such as obtaining birth certificates and identification, seeking medical care at the clinic staffed by student nurses and physician’s assistants and getting counseling for substance abuse. They are the children of HeartLove Place who attend Kids’ Café twice a week, getting a meal before they go home for the evening. They are the families at Children’s Hospital who are supporting their children battling cancer.
If we do not stop to help, what will happen to them? A mother at Children’s once told us it was the first real meal she had eaten all week; she would have had another ‘meal’ from the vending machine had CKMU not been there. The same can be said of many of our other guests.
As we end the school year, CKMU wants to thank our amazing LT and all of our awesome student volunteers. Thank you for sharing your time and culinary skills with the community, providing over 16,500 meals this school year. Good luck on your finals next week and have a great summer! Hope you summer includes some time in the kitchen!