“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’"
—Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Montgomery, Ala., 1957
That’s been especially true since I had the chance to visit his memorial in Washington, D.C., a few years ago. (If you’ve never visited, I urge you to do so—once the partial government shutdown ends, of course.) The memorial is inscribed with many excerpts from his speeches and writings—and even though all were written more than 50 years ago, they still serve as powerful and timeless directives to love and serve others. They certainly serve as motivators for me.
So why in the world am I writing about Dr. King, besides the obvious fact that each year around this time we recognize his work with a holiday? Because in addition to choosing the third Monday of each January to honor him, Congress also designated that day as a national day of service and appointed the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to be responsible for it.
CNCS calls this holiday a “day on, not a day off,” and notes that “[t]he MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a ‘Beloved Community.’"
So in the spirit of a “day on” (because days off in logistics and disaster response are rare), we’d like to present you with a quick request: Won’t you consider registering to volunteer with ALAN in some form or fashion?
We have many individual roles available, so there’s sure to be one that fits your interest. For example, we need logistics coordinators; liaisons to work with our non-profit partners; transportation, warehousing, and material handling subject-matter experts; fundraisers; marketing and communications professionals; policy experts; process improvement specialists; and more. (When you sign up, you can tell us what skills you have to offer.)
We also have numerous ways to get your company involved. So if your business is interested in learning how you can donate your logistics services or expertise (before, during, or after disaster), we invite you to submit your information here. The needs you offer to fill can be as simple as storing or transporting a few pallets one time, or as complex as donating dedicated equipment for a few days, weeks, or months to support a response. But wow, can your help ever make a difference. And by the way, it’s important to point out that filling out the form will really only commit you to be on ALAN’s radar screen. It’s a way to let us know that you’re a group we can call upon when disasters hit—not an ironclad commitment to donate in-kind services each and every time. If we call you with a specific request and the timing isn’t right for you, we’ll completely understand. We’ll just keep your name on the list for the next request!
Prefer to provide financial support? We also have a role for you, because we welcome one-time and sustaining donations of any amount. More information is available on our website, or contact us and we’ll give you a call to discuss your interest.
Dr. King, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, proclaimed, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
Taking a page from his book, I have the audacity to believe that well-coordinated supply chain activities hold the key to solving the challenges wrought by disasters. No one affected by disaster, regardless of the size of the storm, or their location or social status, should go hungry, or without hydration, medical care, or shelter—especially not when the supply chain community has the resources to deliver what is needed.
I hope you’ll join us in that dream—and make 2019 a year filled with service to others