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'It’s an honor I don’t take lightly' | Urban League's president on a mission to help thousands during COVID-19

“No one is ever remembered for what they did for themselves, but you can be remembered for what you have done for others," Michael McMillan said

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The coronavirus pandemic has hit the St Louis area hard. As thousands of people need food and everyday products, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis is being the shoulder for the community to lean on. The president of the organization Michael P. McMillan has made it his personal mission to be there for St. Louis.

The lyrics to the song “Lean on Me” begins with the lines, “Sometimes in our lives we have pain, we all have sorrow.” When asked how local residents have been affected by COVID-19, McMillan told 5 on Your Side, “They quite frankly have been devasted. It is heartbreaking.”

The song goes on to say, “Lean on me when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.” McMillan believes this is the role the Urban League plays.

“I love what the Urban League does. I love the mission. I also have since I was 10 years old.”

McMillan said he’s proud to represent the ULSTL.

“It’s an honor I don’t take lightly, and it is something I am very proud to do each and every day,” he said.

And these days the mission of the ULSTL is needed more than ever.

“We are getting a drastic increase in requests,” he added.

The Urban League has been handing out thousands of everyday items each week to people struggling through the pandemic.

“Over $2 million worth of food, toiletries, masks, gloves, sanitizer and other items to the community,” McMillan told 5 On Your Side.

The organization plans to do even more by turning their focus to children and their back-to-school needs.

“When our children actually get back to school, they’ll have the basic essentials to succeed,” McMillan said.

READ MORE: Donate to support Urban League's back-to-school supply drive

He feels blessed to be able to do for others.

“I thank the Lord every day.”

But with the need being so great, McMillan is hoping more members of the greater St. Louis community share some their blessings and join the effort.

“Make a difference. Give back. Help others and make St. Louis a better region,” McMillan urged residents.

This line from the song “Lean on Me” is also fitting for our times: “If there is a load you have to bear that you can’t carry, I’m right up the road. I’ll share your load if you just call me.” For McMillan, it’s all about “neighbor helping neighbor being the best version of ourselves.” McMillan wants to be the shoulder for his community to lean on.

“No one is ever remembered for what they did for themselves, but you can be remembered for what you have done for others.”

If you would like to donate to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, you can text ULSTL to 314-444-5125.

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