Local/State

Thousands participate in MLK Day of Service

Monday, January 21, 2013

The inaugural ceremonies for the nation's first African-American President fittingly took place on this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Philadelphia is home to one of the largest community service efforts.

7-year-old Anna Goldfarb says she likes helping other people.

So she and her family sat at a table on Monday carefully coloring cards for sick children.

It's just one of the stops she was planning to make as she volunteered her time at Girard College.

"I'm going to volunteer for the people who don't have food," Anna said.

4,000 people took part in some 150 projects at this one location alone, the signature site for Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service.

People of all different ages and backgrounds could lend a hand and maybe learn a little something about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"We learned how he tried to make a difference in the world," 9-year-old Ben Bloom said.

A national record 110,000 people volunteered across our region.

Organizers say it's about making this federal holiday a day on, not a day off, in celebrating King's legacy.

"The 110,000 volunteers in Philadelphia area are really responding to his call to take concerns about pressing community challenges and take action," Todd Bernstein, Founder of the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, said.

One of the highlighted events was KEYSPOTS, a citywide initiative to bring Internet access and training to all Philadelphia communities.

At Girard College, the Philadelphia Housing Authority distributed free netbook computers and modems to more than 150 of its residents.

"It's a new generation, I'm with the old coming into the new, and I have to learn," computer recipient Patricia Miller said.

A lot of people say the day of service doesn't have to be confined to Martin Luther King Day, there are opportunities to help your community all year long.

"Community groups need help all the time from little league rec organization to some non-profit. They can use it in your neighborhood," Vincent Thompson, Vice President of the Black Public Relations Society, said.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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dr. martin luther king, jr., local/state
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