Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday that was signed into law in 1983. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Each year, Americans answer that question by thinking of ways to help others in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dedication to a life of service.
We’d like to highlight one volunteer organization that helps keep the spirit of MLK Day alive throughout the year by motivating others to take small steps toward impacting others in a big way. It’s called the Peanut Butter Plan. Like many of the best plans, it’s simple: Strangers get together, make peanut butter sandwiches and immediately pass them out to people in need. It’s a wonderful example of how social media can make all of this possible.
The Peanut Butter Plan was started on Facebook in the spring of 2009 by Jory John, a children’s author. The movement has already grown to nearly 2,000 members with armies of sandwich-makers turning up everywhere from Los Angeles to London.
“It’s about people encouraging others to take small actions,” said John on Facebook. “But they will ultimately be small actions multiplied by 10,000 people multiplied by thousands and thousands of sandwiches distributed every month.”
Here’s how it works: Buy the bread and peanut butter and jelly, which shouldn’t cost more than about $10. Gather people to help make as many sandwiches as you can, and put them in a bag. Then go somewhere in your community where people are hungry or in need of a sandwich. Then visit the Peanut Butter Plan’s Facebook page and tell Jory John about your experiences. He’d like to share with everyone about the people you helped.
Of course, for Martin Luther King Day, it doesn’t have to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, although peanut butter is the most popular food item asked for by food banks across America. Donate other items to a charity. Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen. Pass out free laundry vouchers or bus passes.
The point is, today and throughout the year, do what you can, share what you have, and help to make the world a better place for those in need. And remember the lasting impact on man, Martin Luther King, made by taking a step in the right direction.