Americans Urged to Volunteer On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Jan 7, 2010

National Service Agency Calls for a “Day On, Not a Day Off”

Washington, DC— With the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service just days away, the Corporation for National and Community Service is urging Americans to honor Dr. King's memory and further his legacy by joining in service projects in their communities on the January 18 King Holiday.

Momentum is building for the annual day of service, with thousands of projects planned across the country. The Corporation is leading the national effort, working in partnership with the King Center, nonprofit and faith-based groups, national service programs, and schools and businesses to encourage Americans to serve on the holiday and throughout the year.

“Martin Luther King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” said Nicola Goren, the Corporation's Acting CEO. “By making King Day ‘a day on, not a day off,' and using the holiday as a springboard for service throughout the year, we can renew our communities and our country as we help realize Dr. King's dream of building the Beloved Community.”

Americans are encouraged to visit Serve.gov/mlkday to find volunteer opportunities in their communities or to create their own projects. Service opportunities range from feeding the hungry and refurbishing local schools to weatherizing homes and providing employment counseling. Many organizations use the day to recruit volunteers to serve throughout the year. Below are highlights of some projects planned for the day of service.

  • Philadelphia, PA—As many as 70,000 volunteers are expected to serve in more than 1,000 projects throughout the greater Philadelphia area, the largest King Day effort in the nation. Volunteers will assemble and pack weatherization kits for families in underserved communities, beautify city recreation centers, prepare meals, donate blood, train reading coaches, and sign up for volunteer opportunities throughout the year at a MLK365 Civic Engagement Expo.
  • Washington DC— Mayor Adrian M. Fenty will use MLK Day to kick off its Cities of Service initiative and is calling on all District citizens to serve at a range of projects including an outdoor soup kitchen, clothing distribution, preparing meals for homeless shelters, job-shadowing, and school beautification projects.
  • Miami, FL— HandsOn Miami and Youth Service America are joining forces with 700 volunteers to revitalize Town Park Village, a public low-income housing facility, and volunteers with Service for Peace are cleaning and landscaping a county park.
  • Chicago, IL— More than 3,000 volunteers will serve throughout Chicago in family shelters, schools, senior centers, social service agencies, and local parks, including 1,5000 students organized by the Service-Learning Initiative of Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Cares.
  • Birmingham, AL—HandsOn Birmingham will send 2,000 volunteers to support more than 40 nonprofit agencies in efforts including visiting nursing home residents, participating in a blitz build with Habitat for Humanity, serving meals, and planting trees.
  • Montana—A statewide project will benefit food pantries as individuals and organizations across the state collect food and help at local food banks. The effort is a partnership of the Montana Food Bank Network, state employees, and national service programs in Montana.

The Corporation works in conjunction with the King Center in Atlanta and six national grantees (Campus Kitchens Project, the National Alliance for Faith and Justice, North Carolina Campus Compact, Points of Light/HandsOn, Service for Peace, and Youth Service America) – to develop service project for the King Day of Service. This year, more than 20 Mayors, as part of the Cities of Service Coalition, are also planning service events and actively encouraging their residents to serve on the holiday.

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 606-6775
sjwarfield@cns.gov

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