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Bridging big differences with small things: Arlington bakery continues tradition of giving away free pastries to MLK Day volunteers

Kenner's Kolaches in Arlington is giving away free pastries to MLK volunteers. It may be more important this year than ever.

ARLINGTON, Texas — For 35 years, Kenner’s Kolaches has been dishing out pastries and positivity.

“How you set your morning is kind of how your day goes,” owner David Kenner said. “If they come in and get something that tastes good and they have a positive experience, then their whole day is on a positive tone.”

Every January Kenner shares that optimism by giving away two free kolaches to people who volunteer for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service in Arlington. 

He’s being doing it for 15 years, and while the recipes stays the same, the world outside seems a little bit different. 

“There’s a lot of fear and anxiousness out there,” said Kenner.

With a global pandemic still raging, violence in the nation’s Capitol and division almost everywhere you look, Kenner said small gestures are more important now than ever. 

“People are worn out by bad news and their life’s kind of at a standstill,” said Kenner. 

The theme for this year’s MLK celebration in Arlington, is “Unifying our Nation,” something easier said than done given the political climate.

COVID-19 concerns mean there won’t be a big event downtown like in previous years, but city leaders are encouraging families to find ways to make their own neighborhoods better, like socially-distanced clean-ups, or helping neighbors in need.

Kenner said he’s happy to help volunteers start the day of service bright and early before heading out to fix their communities, one step at a time.

“They go out and do acts of service and acts of kindness and I think if everybody did that, this whole country would be better,” said Kenner.

Kenner acknowledges a small pastry isn't going to solve all of society’s problems, but said sometimes, the best way to bridge big differences is start by coming together over the smallest things.