MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his last birthday, while still looking toward the future.

In St. Paul, a rally focused on young people with the theme: “What are you doing for others?” Governor Dayton joined other leaders for the celebration at the Ordway Center of the Performing Arts. An award ceremony honored Minnesotans who are making a difference.

A special breakfast sponsored by the United Negro College Fund and General Mills at the newly renovated Minneapolis Armory. Actor David Oyelowo talked to the crowd about his role playing Martin Luther King, Jr. in the movie “Selma.”

“He knew [that] he, his community, his people, his country was in a place it shouldn’t be,” Oyelowo said. “A bridge needed to be built to where it wanted to get.”

Oyelowo went on to say America is in a similar place today. He told the crowd it needs to build a bridge the way King did.

Some families used Monday’s day off school to give back to the community in honor of Dr. King’s legacy — helping fight hunger, one giant scoop of rice at a time.

Hundreds of children and adults spent their Martin Luther King Day at Second Harvest Heartland, packing up more than 2,000 pounds of rice.

Second Harvest Heartland COO Bob Chatmus says Bring a Child To Serve Day is not only about giving back, but giving kids a lesson on hunger.

“These kids are here, and at a very young age, they’re learning about hunger in their community,” he said. “They learning that there are people in the community that don’t have enough to eat — whether it’s children like themselves, or it’s their whole family, or it’s seniors.”

Ten-year-old Sabastian Boyd is here with his mom Denise and some of his friends, running rice with a smile and learning how fortunate he really is.

“It’s kind of sad that some people don’t have homes and food, and I’m just trying to help make their lives better,” he said.

And that’s exactly why his mom, Denis Mendez, brought him here.

“We came with just a lot of excitement, to show my son volunteering and what it’s like to be a part of the community and give back to people that are in need,” she said.

Instead of spending their day off at home playing video games or hanging out, the kids are giving back to the community.

“We have a purpose,” Denise said. “It gives us a good feeling, and that’s important.”

If you’d like to volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland, you’ll find more information on their website.

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