SUMMIT, NJ - Like almost everything these days, Summit's annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 'Day of Service' will be conducted differently this year, another facet of life in the Hilltop City that has been adjusted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While the events may be socially-distanced and -- in many cases -- held virtually, there is no distancing from the message of the day -- pursuing new pathways toward a what Dr. King called the "Beloved Community" through volunteerism, education, understanding, giving back and a selfless dedication to others.

For more than two decades, the Summit community has been honoring the life and legacy of Dr. King, by celebrating his birthday as a 'Day of Justice, Equality and Service to Others'. The day-long event invites all who live, work, worship and volunteer in Summit to participate in a town-wide collection and donation of food, clothing and other necessities, as well as join in discussions on how -- together and through citizen action -- Dr. King's vision can further be brought to life.

2021 'Day of Service' events and programs include:

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Ongoing through January 18

Reusable Bags Needed for Food Pantries

Sponsored by Green Summit NJ. Reusable bags (new or used; any size/any logo accepted) are needed for food distribution. Drop off at GRACE, Cornog Field House, 5 Myrtle Ave.

MLK Day Coat Drive

Sponsored by the Summit YMCA. Coats in all sizes for men, women and children will be collected and donated to those in need. The coat donation box will be at the Cedar Street back entrance of the Summit YMCA.

Equality and Justice Contest

Sponsored by the Summit YMCA. Teens aged 11-18 are invited to send in a 30-60 second video sharing what equality and justice look like to them. Videos can be a short speech, poem, song or any type of creative expression. The best video will win a gift card and be posted on the Summit Y website and social media. Send all videos to

Ongoing through January 19

Week of Service

The Youth Services Department at The Summit Free Public Library is collecting weather packs and Hygiene Kits for Bridges Outreach. Don’t have a quart-size bag handy? Stop by the lobby and pick one up with a list of supplies for each kit. While you are at the library, pick up a “Color a Smile” coloring sheet while supplies last.

January 18 – February 8

Help Stock GRACE’s Shelves

Sponsored by The Connection. The Connection is running a food drive to help keep GRACE’s shelves stocked. Visit for details.

January 17

9:30 a.m.

Unity Service, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Livestream found on and The congregations of three churches – Fountain Baptist Church, Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church, and Central Presbyterian Church – will worship together virtually. All are welcome to view the service. A pre-recorded version of the service will be shown on HTTV channel 33/36 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

2 - 3:30 p.m.

John Lewis: Good Trouble screening Sponsored by LWV, AAUW and Urban League. Documentary film about Congressman John Lewis examines his life, his work and the powerful civil rights issues he confronted throughout his career. The documentary will be streamed online over a 48-hour period in January. Contact for a link to the film screenings and for a link to the discussion/Q&A.

7:30 - 8:30 p.m.

'Crossing the Broken Bridge: Exploring Black-Jewish Relations'. The acclaimed play, Crossing the Broken Bridge, is a frank and provocative exploration of the strengths and strains in Black-Jewish relations. Congregation Beth Hatikvah (CBH) and sister congregations host a dramatic reading of excerpts. Actors Jordana Oberman (Grey’s Anatomy, Hand of God) and Eric B. Anthony (Dreamgirls, The Wiz) will take part in the discussion afterwards. Directed by CBH’s own Karen Sommers Cooper, stage director and theater educator. Zoom Link:

January 18

9 - 10:30 a.m. 

'Support Our Neighbors Experiencing Food Insecurity'. GRACE, Cornog Field House, 5 Myrtle Avenue. Donate and pack shelf-stable grocery essentials for GRACE families. Due to physical distancing, number of volunteers will be limited. No drop-ins, please. Sign up at:

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

'Thank You to Our Essential Workers'. Sponsored by Reeves-Reed Arboretum, 165 Hobart Avenue. Stop by the patio outside the Stackhouse Education Center to pick up supplies to create a Valentine Card for our Essential Workers. On this important day to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. it is a perfect time to reach out and warm the heart of all the people who have helped us during this difficult time. Supplies will include paper, ribbon, yarn and other repurposed items for you to create a thoughtful Valentine card. Complete your card at home and return it to the Arboretum any time before February 10 in a container outside the Stackhouse Education Center. The cards will be delivered to Essential Workers in our community.

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

'Donate Diapers (sizes 3-6) and Baby Wipes'. Area Baby Center, Twin Maples (rear), 214 Springfield Avenue.

9:30 - 11 a.m.

'Unity, Uncertainty and MLK’s Legacy in Our Lives'. Kent Place School via Zoom. As we grapple with what it means to be unified in these uncertain times, how can the legacy of MLK, Jr. serve as a beacon of light? We’ll explore this and so much more with Big Apple Playback Theatre through a lively, interactive and improvised performance enacting your stories via Zoom. The improvised performance will be preceded by an informative introduction by Shenell McCloud, CEO of Project Ready NJ. Project Ready NJ is an organization which seeks to close the digital divide affecting displaced and at-risk youth in Newark. Help answer MLK, Jr.’s call to action of bridging the divide that exists in our community. Learn how to directly donate hotspots and chromebooks for remote learning centers in the Apostle House Shelters, St. Rocco’s and Harmony House. You are invited to observe or have a story performed. Link:

10 - 10:45 a.m.

'Bridge the Gap Between the Housed and Homeless'. Sponsored by Bridges Outreach and Central Church. Bridges and CPC are teaming up to host a virtual education and service event in support of vulnerable friends in our local community. There will be speakers and activities appropriate for all ages, including brief advocacy training for middle and high school students. If you plan on doing the service projects, please have supplies at home for one or more of the following: Bag Decorating: paper bag(s), crayons, markers and any paper decorating supplies. Card Making: unlined paper, crayons, markers and any paper decorating supplies. Fresh Lunch Making: 1 lb sandwich meat (no pork/ham), cheese stick or squeezable yogurt, fruit/cereal bar, 8oz water or juice box, and a napkin. Drop-Off location forthcoming. Join Zoom event at:

1 - 2 p.m.

'Eliminating The Achievement Gap (ETAG) in 5 Years'. Students Speak Out! Creating Equitable Learning Environments wherein students, historically marginalized due to systemic racism and individual biases, succeed, thrive and achieve their full potential. Join Facebook conversation at as current and former students from the Summit Public School District share their experiences, expectations and the changes needed to ensure excellence and equity in our public schools. Creating the Beloved Community Part II: “The greatest irony is that students are being judged and blamed for their own predicament.” Tara Hunter, Princeton University.

1 - 3 p.m.

'How To Fly'. Sponsored by The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) , Virtually. Using art supplies at home and templates available from VACNJ at, decorate individual paper feathers with your artwork and words of MLK, Jr. Explore how working together can create wings; how the contribution of the individual creates the whole; and how, as a group, we can elevate each other to greater heights. Drop off feathers to VACNJ. The composite artwork will be hung in Summit this year. For more information, contact

1 - 6 p.m.

'Community Blood Drive'. Christ Church, 561 Springfield Avenue. Sponsored by The Summit-New Providence Rotary Club and The American Red Cross. Because of COVID restrictions, an appointment is required. Sign up at Blood donors must be aged 16+.

2 - 3 p.m.

'Racial Justice Then and Now Car Procession'. Participants are invited to arrive at Summit High School parking lot at 125 Kent Place Boulevard. Participants can tune into the program via The Virtual Program will be followed by a car procession past Summit Houses of Worship which will take participants on a journey of racial justice then and now with inspiring quotes and visual images.

3 - 4 p.m.

'Appreciating Our Elders'. Sponsored by Dorothy Burger and family. Due to COVID circumstances, the MLK Committee cannot host an event at the Vito A. Gallo Building, home to many senior citizens. The COVID pandemic has been devastating to all senior citizens who may be isolated without technology, many of whom live independently, but are increasingly homebound and cannot receive visitors. Drop off a friendly card, note or drawing of kind images to MONDO (426 Springfield Avenue) in a bin outside the front door, and we will arrange to have them distributed to the residents of 12 Chestnut Avenue.

7 - 8 p.m.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening Service. Fountain Baptist Church, Virtual Program. Sponsored by Fountain Baptist Church, The Tri-City NAACP and The Connection. Speakers include Mayor Nora Radest, Summit Interfaith Council. Music included. Participate via Live Stream at; click on (TV) Live Stream at 7pm or via