On MLK day a number of USAID employees decided to heed the President and First Lady’s call to a day of service and got out and help volunteer with local organizations.

The Administrator and a team went to a service event hosted by the Youth Services Opportunity Project at the Church of the Epiphany in Northwest DC.  They got on their aprons and helped to bake lasagna, make salad, and serve iced tea and lemonade followed by ice cream and cupcakes to about 40 homeless individuals.

The Administrator, his son and USAID staff help serve food at Church of the Epiphany. Photo Credit: YSOP

The Deputy Administrator worked with his team to clean up part of the Potomac river – removing old bicycles, tvs, chairs and multiple broken bottles – while filling in potholes in under 30 degree weather.

There was a group that went to Takoma Educational Center in Columbia Heights, to help refurbish the school which had been horrifically damaged in a fire – that had caused the kids to double-up on classrooms and look at empty blackened walls. The USAID team chose to paint an underwater themed mural (believe it or not some budding artists work at AID – who can draw phenomenal sea creatures) in order to brighten up the classroom for the second graders.

Even though we were all only taking a day out of our lives to work at these organizations, I am sure a number of us will be going back –But we’re reminded that employees at USAID do this at a much greater scale everyday – helping countries to avoid hunger by working on strategies for food security, “cleaning” up the environment through interagency councils working on water coordination and climate development, and rebuilding education for those in need.

Our policies and missions require that every day is a day of service. We want to thank the employees at USAID for what they do – every day.

Happy Martin Luther King day!