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BD Employee Honors Her Father Through Meal Packaging for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

By Hannah Payne on January 15, 2024

For Monica Council-Miles, Manager, Social Investing at BD, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is not only about honoring Dr. King’s incredible legacy; it is also about honoring her father. 

Monica Council-Miles holds a scoop as she preps to pour soy into into a Rise Hunger meal bag through a yellow funnel.
Monica Council-Miles at a BD event in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in October 2022.

MLK Day of Service celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr. by encouraging Americans to spend the annual day volunteering. From January 9-24 this year, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is hosting 22 Rise Against Hunger Experience meal packaging events nationwide and packaging over 372,000 meals collectively to honor his legacy. Through her role at BD, Monica has coordinated these events with Rise Against Hunger that are enabling thousands of her BD colleagues to give back. She is passionate about BD’s commitment to recognizing MLK Day of Service for many reasons, including the opportunity it gives her to remember her dad and his connection to Dr. King. 

Monica grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, where her dad, Charles E. Council, was one of the first Black police officers. Martin Luther King Jr. was friends with the pastor of the church Monica and her family attended. This led to Dr. King visiting Paterson in 1968 to speak to the community about the civil rights movement. When Dr. King came to town, Monica’s dad was chosen to serve on his security team — a great honor. King’s visit to Paterson ended up being only eight days before his assassination. 

Charles E. Council with Martin Luther King Jr. during King’s visit to Paterson, New Jersey.
Photo Credit: Paterson Museum

Monica’s dad, who she describes as her “very best friend,” taught her growing up about the importance of giving back. In her social investing role at BD, she is able to give back as BD partners with Rise Against Hunger and other nonprofits to make a difference. The connection to Martin Luther King Jr. and her dad, who passed away a few years ago, is one that Monica holds very dear, and it now fuels her passion for BD’s recognition of MLK Day of Service every year. She said she can “bring my authentic self to BD because BD was open to the opportunity of me… in my own way, small as it might be… honor[ing] my dad and honor[ing] Dr. King.”

BD, a long-time partner of Rise Against Hunger since 2013, began packaging meals for MLK Day of Service seven years ago. It started with meal packaging events at just a few BD sites and has grown today, in 2024, to 22 events across the country and the packaging of 372,000 meals. Monica is proud of this growth, saying packaging meals is “such an easy thing to do and such an impactful thing to do.” She added, “It’s great when you can work somewhere and bring your ideas, and you can bring your authentic self to the benefit of the organization, to the benefit of the company and the associates.”

BD employees in San Diego (left) and San Antonio during the company’s 2024 MLK Day of Service meal packaging events.

The meals packaged by BD in honor of MLK Day of Service will go on to provide critical nutritional support for communities facing hunger around the world. We are so grateful for their support in the mission to end global hunger, and the opportunity to honor both Dr. King and Monica’s father through these events. 

BD employees in Covington, Georgia, (left) and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, during the company’s 2024 MLK Day of Service meal packaging events.

If you are interested in learning more about our meal packaging program, please fill out the form here.