Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service focusing on gun violence prevention

King Day of Service events in the tri-state area are referred to as the largest and oldest in the country.

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Monday, January 16, 2023
28th annual Greater Philly MLK Day of Service
Hundreds of volunteers, national and local leaders take part each year with service projects and a rally for peace.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Girard College in North Philadelphia for the 28th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

This year's focus is gun violence prevention.

"Today we commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service and awareness around the tragic impact that gun violence is having on our city and our nation," Chris Goins, president of Girard College, said.

King Day of Service events in the tri-state area are referred to as the largest and oldest in the country.

The opening ceremony began with national and local leaders speaking at 9 a.m. Monday in the Girard College Armory.

A Rally for Peace and Justice followed in the elementary school auditorium, and then an orchestra tribute in the chapel.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney took part in announcing the theme for this year's event.

As of now, homicides are down by more than 50% compared to this time last year, but the devastating impacts of a record-setting number of murders over the last couple of years are still felt within communities.

Todd Bernstein, founder and organizer of the Greater Philadelpiha King Day of Service, said the signature project included assembling gun safety kits for distribution to the community.

"I think we can make his legacy a living one, learn from that and turn our concerns about the community into citizen action," Bernstein said.

Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service founder Todd Bernstein explains the importance of the events held on this holiday.

The kits include gun locks, as well as information on important health and social services for prevention, immediate response and coping with the effects of gun violence.

Included materials are used to help provide care to gun violence victims including: tourniquets, gauze, chest seal and other items to treat critical wounds.

Community partners such as Temple University Hospital and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia helped distribute the material and assist with training.

"We see the most shooting victims of any trauma center in the entire Commonwealth. It's something that is incredibly frustrating and incredibly disheartening and that's why we try to do the work that we do before patients come to the hospital," Scott Charles, Trauma Outreach Manager at Temple University Hospital, said.

Jobseekers could also take part in a virtual job fair with than 30 employers