Monday was a day to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and for many it meant a day off from work, a day of rest and relaxation.
But to truly honor the memory of the Civil Rights activist, the day should be observed as, 'a day on, not a day off.'
The third Monday in January is a federal holiday, known as MLK Day. And while yes, many companies close for the day, it is officially a day of service to celebrate King's life and legacy.
And that is exactly what Steelers' staff did as they spent part of the day at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, packing food for people in the Pittsburgh region who are food insecure.
"During the season we are running around crazy, so to take some time out in the offseason as a staff to give back to the community, something we impress upon with our players, I think it's important for us as a staff to lead by example and be out there getting to know community members, understanding food access and insecurity," said Blayre Holmes, the Steelers Director of Community Relations. "There are a lot of neighborhoods that are food deserts, they can't get fresh fruit and vegetables. Helping the Food Bank, a longtime partner of ours, our players do food distributions throughout the year and this is a great way for the staff to get out in the community and give back. It's a mission of ours as an organization and it's great to see the staff participate as well.
"People think of this as a day off, but it's a day on to think about what you as a person are doing to provide opportunity and also think about equity in your community. Not just viewing it through a lens of service, but also thinking about equity and justice in that space, thinking about Martin Luther King's legacy having opportunity and access for everyone. It's important to do service projects, but also thinking about MLK's legacy and being of service to people and what our job is as people to continue to stand up for others in this world. I hope people take away how can I be of service not only with this one day, but through my whole life."
Steelers staff helped pack food at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank as part of the Huddle for 100
Two shifts of staff members spent time at the food bank, done also as part of the NFL Huddle for 100, working together with other Pittsburgh corporations to give back from the heart. And work together they did.
The group repacked seven pallets of potatoes, which comes out to 2,800 bags of potatoes for a weight of 14,000 pounds. The food will be distributed at the South Side 'Produce to People' this Saturday.
"What a wonderful day to have the Steelers here to volunteer with us," said Lisa Scales, President and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. "Martin Luther King said in 1968, 'Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.' And wow, today is a testament to that sentiment from Dr. King.
"It's about everybody getting involved no matter what you do. We love when we have people from across an organization come, that is no different from the Steelers. When we are here on a cold, January day and we have the rest of January and February, when temperatures drop, how important it is for our seniors and people who don't have a lot of resources to have the essential food they need so they can pay for their heat and other basic needs."