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400 New Yorkers Honor MLK in Citywide Serve-a-Thon

January 19, 2010

Volunteers met at Riverside Church on Saturday to honor Dr. King and rally before they served at food pantries and kitchens throughout the City. From Saturday’s kickoff through Monday, 400 volunteers assisted over 30 soup kitchens and food pantries at various service sites. Council Member Dickens, Council Member Brewer and Donna Smith from the Corporation for National and Community Service rallied the volunteers at Riverside Church, a site where Dr. King previously delivered a speech, encouraging them to make long-term commitments to serve.

In line with Dr. King’s message “everybody can be great because anyone can serve,” volunteers signed up for skills-based and long-term volunteering through NYCCAH’s innovative data match program at the event kick-off, and then volunteered at sites throughout the City. Pantries and kitchens are frequently volunteer-run, and need assistance with strategic planning, grant-writing, and technological skills.

The event was endorsed by Martin Luther King III, who noted that “Every year since 2004, the NYC Coalition Against Hunger has honored my father’s legacy by inspiring average citizens to serve. Because of your efforts, men and women from all walks of life commemorate my father’s birthday in New York’s food pantries and soup kitchens, providing much needed help for the city’s neediest citizens.”

As Dr. King famously said in his later years, “I’ve worked to get people the right to eat hamburgers and now I’ve got to do something to get them the money to buy them.” Volunteers helped with direct food service, assisted food programs with cleaning, maintenance, and other needs. Volunteers with a professional background learned about using their skills on a long-term basis to help feeding agencies feed more people and move clients towards greater self-sufficiency.

Since 2004, NYCCAH has commemorated Dr. King’s birthday with the MLK Serve-a-Thons, which provide hard-pressed food pantries and soup kitchens with much needed help from hundreds of New Yorkers willing to ‘take a day on, not a day off.’

One Comment leave one →
  1. S.Bavarsky permalink
    February 8, 2011 1:08 am

    MLK Serve-a-Thon sounds like an amazing service and really seems to make a difference. ‘take a day on, not a day off’ is a great way to look at MLK day and community service is the best thing to do with your day off from school or work. At Kent State University (Kent, Ohio) our Hillel does “Just for a Day” where students spend the day volunteering at different organizations in the area, soup kitchens, nursing homes and community centers. With only positive feedback it makes everyone feel great to know that they did something worth while with a day off. Helping people though any sort of community service is an inspiring feeling. Once you start helping you never want to stop.

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