Honoring MLK Day is more important than ever in 2021. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the nation’s preeminent advocate of nonviolence and his work as a Civil Rights Leader continues to inspire our work at the Montrose Center. MLK Day of Service is a way to channel Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action, and at the Montrose Center we honored the day with several socially-distanced volunteer opportunities supporting essential services.
Following CDC guidelines, we conducted health checks, limited volunteers, and separated volunteers into smaller groups in order to have an incredible volunteer day that impacted the lives of our clients. It was truly heartwarming to see volunteers engaging and enjoying volunteerism after having to cancel so many of our normally scheduled volunteer opportunities.
Volunteers supported our Outreach Department by assembling condom kits! Each kit contained condoms, lube packets, a brochure of how to use a condom, and an information card about PrEP. Volunteers also put stickers on each condom with contact information for the Outreach Department before assembling packets. These kits will be distributed in the field to clients and potential new clients in hopes to promote safer sex practices and increase awareness about options for PrEP.
Volunteers also helped complete the transition of our COVID Emergency Food Pantry. Initially, we housed the COVID Pantry in a smaller room previously used by our SPRY Montrose Diner. Due to the influx of donations over the holidays, we needed to move our inventory to our larger conference rooms that are regularly used by community organizations during the year for meetings. They assisted with moving boxes used to assemble client food packages and cleaning up the Diner space for when we’re able to reopen.
Finally, volunteers also helped create pronoun buttons for future Center events. The designs feature a gradient ring of our six signature colors, and feature pronouns such as “He/Him,” “She/Hers,” and “They/Them.” Our hope is that these buttons with help normalize seeing pronouns used in everyday settings, ease anxieties over asking for pronouns, and prevent misgendering.
With the arrival of COVID-19, the Montrose Center is offering our programs primarily through teleservices, making sure our community members are able to still continue therapy, case management, and other sessions virtually, have virtual access to wellness and support groups, along with access to a vast list of COVID resources, an expanded emergency food pantry, and direct financial assistance. Our volunteers, both virtual and in person, are allowing us to respond to the expanding needs.
Thank you to each and every volunteer who helped make our MLK Day of Service a success. You are appreciated and valued!