The cold slowly seeped through layers of clothes, numbing our fingers and toes, as we stood outside the entrance of the Thrashers Corner Safeway Saturday morning. We were collecting non-perishable food for the Greater Bothell Parent Resource Center (Food Bank) as part of the UW Bothell/Cascadia Community College MLK Day of Service. Busy shoppers exited the supermarket, placing their food donations into large boxes.
One gentleman with his long gray beard paused for a moment before entering the store and mentioned that, not long ago, he depended on the food bank to feed him and his family. He returned a few minutes later with a couple of cans of beans and vegetables. “I’m glad I’m able to give back now,” he said with a smile as he continued on with his morning.
As we found out during the recent economic downturn, families are but one layoff away from hardship. During our last class, Maury Forman said that there is more to economic development than just creating jobs; build healthy communities so jobs will be created. To me, a healthy community begins with an awareness of the people around us including those who struggle each day to make ends meet.
As leaders we must do our part to bridge barriers and create solutions to social problems so we can build stronger communities. Or in the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,”An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confined of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”