County Expands Programs, Encourages Giving Back On MLK Day

“A day on, not a day off” is the motto of local organizers preparing for the MLK Day of Service in Montgomery County.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a Federal holiday, held on Jan. 20 of this year, designated in 1994 as a national day of service. In Montgomery County it is a day for people of all backgrounds to come together to serve and give back.

“It has become a day for people of all backgrounds to come together in the spirit of Dr. King’s message and to serve together, fulfilling a tangible or spiritual need and making our community a better place to live,” said Katie Sayago, the Days of Service Coordinator for the Montgomery County Volunteer Center.

The main day of service site in Montgomery County is at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center where project tables and a volunteer fair are set up in a large ballroom.

But this year, the County has decided to add “Day of Service” locations, bringing two new options for volunteers in addition to Bethesda and the annual Silver Spring Civic Center site.

“We have expanded the MLK locations this year,” Sayago said. “Last year we only had two locations, the Marriott and Silver Spring.  We are excited to be working with two new partners this year and have a site in Montgomery Village as well as Gaithersburg.  We are glad to have back many of the same projects from last year but are excited for the new projects that will take place.”

Projects to participate in include packing sandwiches for the homeless, making paracord bracelets for Operation Gratitude, writing letters to troops, crafting cards for seniors, packing care kits for the homeless and children in foster care, and making toys for children at the NIH Children’s Inn.

“Every year Martin Luther King Day is a big event but it’s not just that we do a really nice concert at Strathmore but it’s a day on, not a day off, so we do day of service activities,” said Bruce Adams, Director of Community Partnerships for Montgomery County. “Thousands of people will be volunteering to help their neighbors.”

And for the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, they hope that this event will encourage more people to give back.

“We hope that these events spark people’s interest in volunteering year round,” Sayago said. “The nonprofits and government agencies in Montgomery County do so much for the people in our community but they can’t do it all by themselves.  They rely on volunteers in every aspect of their work.  I hope this event gives people a chance to not only do good on MLK Day but to make a connection with an organization that has ongoing volunteer needs.”

Find more information on how to participate in the MLK Day of Service by visiting the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website here.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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