Delta people across the company put words into action to honor the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The federally designated day of service is dedicated to Dr. King’s work to drive non-violent systemic changes to eliminate poverty, hunger and bigotry, seeking a “Beloved Community” where all people have equitable access to their fullest potential.
Dr. King was an inclusive leader before there was language to describe him as such, and Delta aspires to bring to life many central themes of his legacy as reflected in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy to actively seek diversity, boldly pursue equity and consciously promote inclusion. On Jan. 17 and leading into the holiday, Delta people honored Dr. King and our commitment to DEI by saying, doing and learning more to expand our understanding, increase our ability to empathize and serve our community.
In Atlanta, Delta people volunteered with Hosea Helps to serve people experiencing food insecurity and homelessness. In years past, the annual event has included indoor hot meal service. Due to COVID-19, this year’s format was different: drive-through food distribution outside the organization’s headquarters.
Wearing masks and practicing social distancing, 150 Delta volunteers helped distribute grocery boxes containing fresh produce, poultry, pantry staples, water and personal protective equipment to an estimated 6,000 people.
“I heard someone in the crowd say, ‘Look at Delta, they always come through!’ and it’s a huge source of pride for me to be a part of that and represent a company that is so visible and gives in the community in a such a big and visible way,” said Maryanne Padilla, a learning facilitator in ACS & Cargo, through tears of joy. “It means everything to me.”
Hosea Helps, now in its 50th year of service, raises awareness and provides direct support to prevent or alleviate poverty, hunger and housing insecurity for more than 50,000 people annually. The organization was founded in 1971 as Hosea Feed the Hungry and the Homeless by the Rev. Hosea Williams, a trusted associate of Dr. King and longtime civil rights leader, philanthropist and politician.
“Dr. King’s legacy remind us of his teachings about a ‘Beloved Community’ in which everyone is cared for, absent of poverty, hunger
, and hate,” said Tad Hutcheson, Managing Director - Community Engagement. “As a company dedicated to building a more equitable world, we honored his vision by living out the Delta Difference with our long -time partner Hosea Helps by helping to meet a basic need for all members of a community — access to healthy food.”
Although the pandemic curtailed many in-person plans, Delta volunteers across the company participated in a variety of activities to honor Dr. King’s legacy, including virtual learning and celebration events sponsored by The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, virtual reading events with local schools and “Time for Understanding” sessions in stations and engagement centers.