Inspired by King's vision, Arlington Heights volunteers prepare meals for homeless shelter
To help honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Arlington Heights Memorial Library offered its patrons an opportunity Monday to give back to the community.
About 30 volunteers joined library staff members in a day of service, preparing meals in the library's Makerplace kitchen for a local PADS homeless shelter.
Two sessions were held in the afternoon, during which attendees ages 12 and up made lunches and dinners for about 30 people who receive shelter on Tuesday nights at the First Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights.
Bag lunches included sandwiches, chips, fruit and granola bars. For dinner, crews made pasta, garlic bread, fresh salad and dessert.
Neal Parker, the library's programs and exhibits specialist, said the library has held service projects in the past, but this was the first time using the Makerplace resource. Opened in 2021 at 112 N. Belmont Ave. -- formerly the village's first stand-alone library -- the Makerspace features a commercial kitchen as well as 3-D printers, laser cutters, computers, sewing equipment and more.
"Libraries are gathering spaces and leaders in the community," Parker said. "Our library plays an essential role in connecting Arlington Heights community members with resources and opportunities, including through events such as this."
"We're inspired by Dr. King's vision of the 'Beloved Community' in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger and hate," he added. "Programs like this one are a great example of the library's mission, vision and values in action."
Supplies for the event were funded through the library's program budget, though organizers could seek food donations if the library continues offering the space to prepare meals for the homeless.
Parker expressed the staff's thankfulness for the work the church and residents are doing for the community and said they look forward to future opportunities.