65,000 volunteer for day of service

January 19, 2009 3:32:05 PM PST
On this Martin Luther King Day, Temple University is hosting the largest Day of Service event in the nation. Thousands of volunteers are taking inspiration from both Dr. King and President-elect Obama by making this a "day on," not a day off.

By the time the sawing, measuring and nailing are complete a new environmentally-friendly playground will have a home at the Winchester Recreation Center in North Philadelphia.

"We're just giving back to the community. It's all about community service," said volunteer Donald Pinkney.

That is just one of the 900 service projects launched in the 14th annual greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

The event has set a record this year with nearly 65,000 volunteers participating.

Thats 5,000 more volunteers than last year.

"The 900 projects that we're seeing throughout the region are a result of a community-building process, of organizations coming together and deciding what the needs of the community are," said Founder and Organizer Todd Bernstein.

The volunteers are people of all ages and backgrounds offering all kinds of community services including a healthcare fair, a mural arts program and a computer refurbishing project that will bring technology to underprivileged kids.

"They get to learn how to make themselves a little better," said volunteer Danette Gonzalez.

It's a lesson everyone here seems to be taking away from this experience.

"I've learned that you can never give enough, and you can always help somebody, there's always somebody in need of your help," said volunteer D'Andre Pollard. "So I just wanted to help them."

Volunteers say this year has special significance not only because of the legacy Dr. King leaves behind, but because of the future they see in President-elect Obama.

"I think Barack Obama is a legacy builder, a legacy carrier of what Dr. King meant, bringing broad coalitions together," Bernstein said.

This event will go on all day, and work on these projects will continue throughout year and will impact on communities last years to come.

If you would like to volunteer, CLICK HERE for the MLK 365 website, which asks people to serve their communities all year long.

OTHER LINKS:

MLK Day.gov

USA Service.org

USA Freedom Corps

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