BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Volunteers gathered on Saturday as Bloomfield’s Martin Luther King Day of Service Committee carried out good works in the civil rights hero’s name at the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green.
Students from Bloomfield Middle School’s Builders Club were among the volunteers creating 1,000 hygiene kits for needy individuals during the day of service.
Contents for these kits, such as shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants and soaps were donated by individuals and local organizations.  Collection boxes were stationed at Town Hall, the public library and firehouses.
Over the past five years, committee members have collected food supplies for residents in need, and painted murals in Bloomfield Public Schools that emphasize King’s values.
This year, the committee set an ambitious goal of collecting 5 tons – or 10,000 pounds – of food for local pantries.
“The MLK Committee will focus on our most vulnerable residents; the homeless, those at risk of homelessness, those who have food insecurities or those who do not have enough money to buy basic hygiene items like soap or toothbrushes,” said Councilwoman Dr. Wartyna Davis, who started Bloomfield’s Day of Service initiative in 2014.
“By supporting this project, you are supporting your family, friends and neighbors,” Davis added.  “Like the murals that our committee members painted in Bloomfield schools in recent years, this food drive and supply drive will serve as tangible reminders that Dr. King’s legacy lives on in our community.”

The Township of Bloomfield began its annual six-week, community-focused Season of Giving on December 4 with the Christmas Tree lighting outside Town Hall and continued the Season of Giving with Saturday’s Martin Luther King Day of Service.
“We are very close to reaching our goals,” committee member Jody Polidoro told TAP.  “We made just about 1,000 hygiene kits and collected almost 5 tons of food.”
The MLK Day of Service Committee is a (501c3) non-profit that helps collect food and conducts clothing drives, and will continue to collect supplies for Bloomfield-area shelters and community aid organizations.  
“I would like to thank everyone on our MLK Day of Service Committee for their vision and hard work to honor Dr. King’s legacy of community service, charity and unity,” said Mayor Michael Venezia.  “I am grateful to Councilwoman Davis for spearheading this great initiative that has become a staple of Bloomfield community service.  The Township Council and I have and will continue to support this very important work.”
Other committee members include Rev. Ruth Boling, Bridgit Brown, Luis Felix, Debbie Freeman, Jenni Gamble, Councilman Ted Gamble, Doug Grant, Dr. Djanna Hill-Tall, Claudia Jackson, Councilman Nicholas Joanow, Dana Moore, Vanessa Phipps, Paula Peikes, Melissa Santiago, Michael Sceurman, Mary Todaro, Deacon Robert Walker and Township Administrator Matthew Watkins.
A town-wide celebration on the federally-celebrated Martin Luther King Day takes place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at New Light Baptist Church.  The theme of the service is “A Knock at Midnight: a Community Answers.”