Had Martin Luther King Jr. not been assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis hotel in 1968, he could be celebrating his 88th birthday this year. He would, no doubt, marvel at many of the achievements and changes that have occurred in the United States, but he likely would be dismayed that so many injustices and struggles in the areas of civil and human rights continue.
Throughout the country countless individuals and organizations pay homage to King, who dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of others, by actively participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. Established in which has been designated as a national day of service. “It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems,” states the Corporation for National and Community Service website. “The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
Those looking to volunteer for MLK Day of Service projects, can go to www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday and do a search of volunteer needs in their geographic area or area of interest.
In DeKalb County, several organizations are embracing the “Make it a day on, not a day off” philosophy and have service projects planned for which volunteers are needed.
Below are several efforts planned for Jan. 14-16 to honor King and advance his principles:
Rice for Refugees
Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Stone Mountain is seeking volunteers for its Rice for Refugees service project. Volunteers are asked to bring large bags of rice and quart-size zip lock bags to the church and help repackage the rice into family-size plastic bags. The bags will be distributed to newly arrived families being resettled by Lutheran Services of Georgia. Another project involves writing letters and cards of hope to immigrants who are detained in U.S. Immigrant Detention Centers. Both projects take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 16. For more information contact Gene at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 939-5850.
Be a compassionate presence to immigrant detainees in U.S. Immigration Detention Centers by writing letters to adults in Georgia’s immigration detention centers and making cards for mothers and children in family detention centers who are visited by Lutheran partners in Texas.
Dunwoody Day of Service
The city of Dunwoody, in partnership with the Dunwoody-Atlanta Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Trees Atlanta and the Dunwoody Nature Center, will host a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service from 9 a.m. until noon on Jan. 16. Volunteers will gather at the pavilion at Brook Run Park, 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody.
There will be opportunities to work indoors or outdoors. Volunteers also are invited to make a donation of a new or gently used coat or canned goods to one of the donation bins. Sign up at www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0548adac2ba7fa7-city to choose a volunteer location. The morning will start at the Brook Run Pavilion where volunteers will receive details on their volunteer opportunity, followed by a ‘MLK Day of Service Community Walk’ around the Brook Run trail loop. Then volunteers will head to appointed locations with a goal of concluding activities at noon.
Decatur MLK Service Project
Decatur’s 15th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. service project is a three-day affair which takes place Jan. 14-16. Volunteers will be assigned to work at senior citizens’ homes in Oakhurst, making repairs and doing yard work that elderly homeowners have been unable to afford to do..
Volunteers may sign up for one or more of the following shifts:
Jan. 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 15, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
All volunteers are invited to attend a celebration cookout at 5 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Solarium.
Volunteers are encouraged to bring tools to use (hammers, saws, drills and other tools; rakes, clippers, loppers and other yard work implements). The food committee is seeking donations of sandwiches and homemade desserts to feed the hundreds of hungry volunteers. Over 1,100 volunteers work on the project each year.
Anyone age 12 and older is welcome to volunteer. Volunteers younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian sign a release form and bring it with them to the project. That form and other information regarding the service project are available online at www.decaturga.com/mlk.
Volunteers meet at the Solarium at the Community Center of South Decatur, 321 W. Hill St. in the Oakhurst section of Decatur, at least a half-hour before shifts start.
To volunteer to make home repairs, do yard work, help with logistics, or assist the food committee, please contact Lee Ann Harvey, (678) 553-6548 or email@example.com.
The MLK Service Project is sponsored by the Decatur Preservation Alliance (DPA) in partnership with the city of Decatur.
With the theme “Remembering the Dream, Honoring the Dreamer,” the NAACP DeKalb County Branch 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade steps off at noon on Jan. 16. The parade starts at Green Pastures Christian Ministries, 5455 Flat Shoals Parkway and ends at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. Bands from the following DeKalb high schools are expected to perform: Martin Luther King Jr., Cedar Grove, Clarkston and Stone Mountain. John Evans is expected to serve as grand marshal.
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