U.S. Sec. of Agriculture joins Savannah MLK day of service project

Secretary Thomas Vilsack stopped by as volunteers helped revitalize a community garden
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 2:33 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn’t until Monday, but community members came together to honor his legacy a little early Thursday with a day of service.

It’s a day they’ve had circled in their calendars.

“Unfortunately, for the past two years, we were unable to do it due to COVID-19. This is our first year back and we’re excited,” explained the Project Coordinator, Tamoni Stringer.

Volunteers got their hands dirty sprucing up the community garden behind the Economic Opportunity Authority in Savannah Thursday, a day which was about something bigger than themselves.

“Martin Luther King, in order to honor him, we do a day of service. A day of service meaning that everyone can serve, everyone can make a difference, everyone can contribute back to the community and make the world a better place,” Stringer says.

Helping make the world better by addressing a growing issue.

“This area we are in is within an urban food desert area, as defined by USDA. So, it’s important that we are here,” said volunteer and Savannah State Associate Professor Dr. Philip Omunga.

Taking a step in the right direction to hopefully bring down some staggering numbers.

“17.6 percent of our community is food insecure, about 35-thousand people,” said Debbie Williams Walker with Savannah Chatham EOA.

A project that even caught the attention of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

“This is a place of miracles,” said Secretary Thomas Vilsack, “behind us is a community garden, miracles take place every single day in that garden. By virtue of the power of service, volunteer service, fruits and vegetables are being planted today that will help families all across this great city have access to a fruit or vegetable they otherwise may not have been able to afford. That to me is a miracle.”

A miracle, that on this day came thanks to many hands, but like a seed started from the smallest of forms and when cared for and nurtured grew into something that will change lives and inspire others to do the same.

“I hope that they understand that one person can make a difference. I think Martin Luther King believed very strongly and his life was an example of one man, one person, making a profound difference,” Sec. Vilsack said.