By Dan Dean, Energy Corps AmeriCorps Project Coordinator, and Rachel Spencer, FoodCorps Arkansas Fellow
NCAT’s FoodCorps and Energy Corps members celebrate service every day, but took some extra time on January 20 in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Energy Corps members, alumni, and volunteers distributed free Home Weatherization Kits from the City of Fayetteville Community Resources division to residents. Each kit includes energy-efficient light bulbs, caulk, weatherstripping, low-flow faucets, and several other essential energy saving items. The City purchased 1,500 kits through the Community Development Block Grant program. The teams of two distributed 32 kits on an unseasonably warm MLK Day. Next month, a Community Sustainability Fair and Weatherization Workshop featuring Energy Corps members, non-profit organizations, and vendors will teach residents how to install the various products. The City produced an instructional video featuring the kits as part of their Green Your Life series.
FoodCorps Arkansas members also held several events in honor of MLK Day. Service members in Northwest Arkansas partnered with Ozark Natural Foods and Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to conduct grocery store tours through the Cooking Matters at the Store program. The tours aim to promote health by engaging participants around four key shopping skills: reading food labels, comparing unit prices, finding whole grain food, and identifying three ways to purchase produce. Volunteers also highlighted the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” list as a resource for deciding when to buy organic or conventional produce. Northwest Arkansas members also partnered with close-by Tri Cycle Farms and Trinity United Methodist Church in Fayetteville, Ark., to clean up the church grounds, build a new children’s garden at the farm, and cook a “stone soup” meal open to the community. The FoodCorps service member in Marshall, Ark., hosted a Sunday Supper potluck in honor of MLK Day, bringing community members together for a discussion of spring garden planning and the promotion of local agriculture in Searcy County.