MLK Day Philly style

Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service was a huge success around the City… over 85,000 volunteers helped in various ways in Philadelphia and across the Delaware Valley.  It’s amazing to hear of so many people willing to take up their day and help out others, but what else would you expect from the City of Brotherly Love??

This year the Wynnstay gang teamed up with our friends from Impact Thrift Stores to help serve dinner at Chosen 300 Ministries.  We arrived at the Outreach center on 11th and Spring Garden to the hearty greeting of Brian Jenkins prepping over 50 volunteers.  Brian’s story is quite remarkable.  He started Chosen 300 in 1996 with his wife Shandai after the meeting a homeless man outside the Merriam Theatre here in Philadelphia.  The effort started small at their local church by preparing and serving a handful of meals to various homeless.  Today Chosen 300 serves over a thousand meals every week with a mission to unite individuals through faith in God and faith in the common good.

The night started off with a sermon and singing from members of Mt. Airy Baptist Church as the individuals piled into the dining hall.  After an inspirational prayer from Brian and a check presentation from Impact, we immediately sprung to action, filling plates high with sandwiches, hot dogs, corn, baked beans, rice and cookies.  Others shuffled down the hall to serve the meals, with a smile of course!  In his prep speech, Brian noted the importance of creating a warm and friendly environment for the individuals to feel welcome and appreciated.  He really strives to provide a sense of comfort and unity… something that is lacking while living on the streets.  As the last of the patrons left, we had served more than 270 people with food to spare!  It’s amazing to think that if Brian and Chosen 300 was not there to provide that meal, they’d have to find another way to eat.  But on the flip side, it’s organizations like his that provide support in a way that regular society does not.

Wynnstay would also like to give a shout out to Impact Thrift Stores.  Our own Tom Wynn has dedicated a lot of his time toward its success and mission.  On this night they presented a check to Chosen 300 for $21,000.   An amazing sum of money for any non-profit!  Impact started a little over 10 years ago as an upclass thrift store with a goal of distributing the stores’ profits to local Philadelphia charities.  It has been an overwhelming success and I believe they are opening their 4th store this year and plan to add over 50 new jobs to the area.  Wow!

Martin Luther King Day of service is a great way each year to spread the message of side-by-side volunteering.  Our experience at Chosen 300 really underscores the importance of uniting everyone to work toward a common good.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.” -Dr. King