MLK Day Food Drive and Virtual Event

The McKinney Center is not only named for a legacy of Black history in the town of Jonesborough, Ernest McKinney and his family, but it was the Black school built in 1940 and served as that until desegregation. It is a perfect pairing for the McKinney Center to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. each year on MLK Day by also celebrating Jonesborough’s own Black History while giving something back to the community.

In the past the McKinney Center celebrated MLK Jr. Day with service projects that included cleaning up the African American portion of the Old Town Cemetery. Starting in 2018 the McKinney Center hosted a Peace Walk and Community Art Project, the format of this event has changed over the years. Despite some format changes the idea behind this event is the same each year. Honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, celebrate Jonesborough’s own Black history, and serve the community.

For January 2022, the McKinney Center will begin celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. early by collecting food for the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry. The center will be collecting non-perishable items from December 13, 2021 through January 17th, 2022. Those who wish to donate can drop off food items at the McKinney Center during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. Join us for an online stream on the McKinney Center’s Facebook page to see live readings from MLK’s speech, hear about local Black history, and enjoy powerful song from the civil rights era. 

As we remember Dr. King, we remember his call to service, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” The McKinney Center is inviting the Jonesborough community to join in celebrating the service of Dr. King by participating in a food drive to support the JAMA (Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association) Food Pantry. The JAMA Food Pantry serves residents holding a Jonesborough, Telford, or Limestone addresses. In particular, the Food Pantry needs Canned Pasta (SpaghettiOs, ravioli), Evaporated Milk, Brownie or Cake Mix, Syrup, Beef Stew, Chili, and Baked Beans.

For more information about this event, please contact McKinney Center’s Community Program Specialist Skye McFarland at or call 423-753-0562.