January 16, 2014 at 6:00 AM
SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - Fanwood and Scotch Plains will be among the area communities observing the fifth annual Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 20.
King believed that "everybody can be great because everybody can serve," and residents will have opportunities on Monday to donate their time and lend a hand to the many diverse organizations in the area. The MLK Day of Service is sponsored by the communities of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, the Ministirium, the JCC of Central New Jersey, the YMCA and Nick's Pizza.
While last year's event was limited to a half-day's worth of activities, there were still more than 200 people in attendance at the opening program and more than 500 who volunteered during the day. The event encourages the entire family to become involved. Age-appropriate activities will take place throughout the two communities, from creating get-well cards for cancer patients to baking dog biscuits for animal shelters.
Families can assemble healthy snacks for afterschool programs and sandwiches for a local food bank. Kids will also have the opportunity to create a poster representing King's legacy for submission to the National Martin Luther King Day of Service poster contest.
For adults, there will be opportunities such as cleaning the local nature center, working at a nearby Habitat for Humanity site, or participating in a round table discussion inspired by Dr. King. And for those unable to donate their time that day, they can still give back by participating in the JCC's annual blood drive or by dropping off clothes, food, or gently used toys at one of our many donation opportunities.
There will be an opening ceremony at the JCC of Central New Jersey on Martine Avenue from 10 to 11a.m. Guests will include Mayor Kevin Glover from Scotch Plains and Mayor Colleen Mahr from Fanwood. The program will begin with a “community values” art project and end with a brief musical program. All are welcome to attend. Activities will begin immediately following the opening program and will be held throughout Scotch Plains and Fanwood between 11:15 a.m. and 5 p.m. And any volunteers in need of refreshment are invited to visit Nick's Pizza, one of our sponsors, between noon and 3 p.m. to grab a slice of pizza—half of all proceeds will benefit the MLK Day of Service and a local charity.
All interested volunteers can visit www.spfmlkday.com. Online registration will run through Saturday. Same-day registration will be available during the Opening Program, but participants are strongly encouraged to register online as space is very limited and has filled up quickly in the past.
"Life's most urgent and persistent question is: what are you doing for others? This is a wonderful opportunity to bring our community together," said MLK Day Co-Chair, Michelle Shapiro Abraham. "Not only will every member of the family learn the importance of giving back, but they'll also discover all the wonderful volunteer organizations at work in their community."