Hands Extended Across Reaching Together
The HISTORY of H.E.A.R.T.
In 1980, a group of concerned employees of The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia combined their efforts to keeping the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive by recognizing the need for this great country and community to come together in true fellowship and love. They organized H.E.A.R.T. (Hands Extended Across Reaching Together) to assist those who are in underprivileged and low income situations within the community.
H.E.A.R.T. held its first Commemorative Breakfast at Shoney’s East Restaurant in Albany, Georgia in 1980. Due to an increase in the number of people desiring to attend the breakfast, Albany State (College) University was chosen as the new site and remained so through 1988. Interest in the annual service increased within the Albany community to the point where an even larger and more appropriate place was needed to accommodate the Service. In 1989, the Service and Commemorative Breakfast were moved to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Family Center with continued sponsorship of the P&G Family. The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia became the Corporate Sponsor of the MLK Commemorative Breakfast in 1989 and continues to be its sole sponsor. In 1999, the Services were moved into the Sanctuary of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, with the Breakfast being held in the Church’s Family Center. Again, this move was due to an overwhelming growth in attendance.
H.E.A.R.T. original members included: Pervis Bearden, Clint Melton, Lula Porter, Mary Thomas, Johnnie Armstrong, Rick Bready, Cynthia Singleton Douglas, Willie “Bucky” Washington, Willie Richardson, Carolyn Steps, and Clint Lewis.
Although the Breakfast began with a small group of concerned employees of Procter & Gamble in 1980, it has since catapulted to occupying one of the largest facilities in Albany, Georgia (Mt. Zion Baptist Church) and commanding its own 250-member MLK Community Mass Choir. It is attended and supported by local and state leaders, civic organizations, businesses and residents throughout the Southwest Georgia area. They see this event as an opportunity to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while supporting an organization that has proven to be fiducially responsible in helping those in need.