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Americans to Mark Weekend of Service, Address Local Challenges

by CNCS Staff

Americans from all 50 states will join thousands of organizations and commit to service this weekend as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service coincides with the 57th Presidential Inaugural and National Day of Service.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, the 2013 MLK Day service projects will occur on the same day as National Day of Service activities, continuing a tradition set four years ago when President Obama and his family joined in the King Day of Service the day before his official swearing in 2009.

Volunteers will assemble to deliver meals, refurbish schools and community centers, collect food and clothing, sign up mentors, promote nonviolence, support veterans and military families, and much more. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads MLK Day of Service, is urging Americans to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.”

“Service is a core American value in both good times and moments of great challenge,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “As we stand on the precipice of a new chapter for America, we will witness citizenship and service in action in communities across our great nation. I am convinced that, as Americans work alongside each other, the spirit of unity will inspire many of them to continue to volunteer throughout the year.”

As part of the CNCS directive to lead the national effort, six organizations received MLK Day of Service grants that will support hundreds of projects nationwide: Campus Compact, the Cesar Chavez Foundation, HOPE worldwide, Points of Light, Service for Peace, and Youth Service America.

A small sampling of the projects taking place across the nation is listed below. More information, including details about local service opportunities, is available at the MLK Day page on Serve.gov.

  • In Sacramento, CA, volunteers with Service for Peace will recruit volunteers to care for young trees, remove invasive species, clean graffiti, and more in a local park.
  • In Minneapolis, MN, volunteers with College Possible will support children's activities and building beautification for the organization People Serving People, which serves homeless children and their families and provides new opportunities for healthy, stable family life.
  • In Columbia, MO, AmeriCorps VISTA members will join the Missouri River Communities Network along with the Missouri River Bluffs Association, the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, and Centro Latino at a local food drive.
  • More than 300 volunteers in New Jersey will join AmeriCorps members, Jersey Cares, Bergen County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other local government, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations in Atlantic, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in mucking and gutting homes flooded during Hurricane Sandy.
  • In New York City, AmeriCorps members will lead volunteers in an effort to “muck out” 30-50 homes flooded during Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways and South Brooklyn.
  • 100,000 volunteers are expected to participate in Pennsylvania's Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, including 4,000 at a project sponsored by Girard College.
  • In Austin, TX, in coordination with the Urban Roots project, the Cesar Chavez Foundation will host a day of service on their farm. Volunteers will prepare the ground for planting and plant onions and leeks. Volunteers will also learn about the food system, hunger in Central Texas, and the work of Dr. King in relation to food.
  • In Seattle, WA, hundreds of volunteers will conduct fire-safety outreach to at-risk neighborhoods as part of a project sponsored by HOPE worldwide.
  • In Washington, DC, volunteers will assemble 100,000 care kits for deployed U.S. service members, wounded warriors, and veterans. The project is sponsored by CNCS, Points of Light, and Target, in partnership with Operation Gratitude, the Community Blueprint, Serve DC, Hands On Greater DC Cares, Volunteer Fairfax, and The George Washington University.
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