SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – The fourth annual Martin Luther Day of Service for Scotch Plains and Fanwood was filled with volunteers and projects, led by the slogan “Make it a day on, not a day off!”.
“We project that we had around 500 volunteers this year,” said MLK Day co-chair Michelle Abraham. While last year there was an estimated 1,000 volunteers, this year’s activities had to be curtailed due to the fact that school was in session in the morning, making up for time lost during Hurricane Sandy.
Michelle Abraham was instrumental in organizing the first MLK Day of Service four years ago, where she opened the event with the following comment: "Martin Luther King taught us that we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny, whatever effects one directly, affects all of us indirectly."
This year Abraham was joined by co-chairs Amanda Barnett and Courtney Agnello. The Ministerium was represented by Rabbi Joel Abraham, publicity – was handled by Lisa Weisser and Jeanne Ziobro, and committee members included Joanne Sprague (YMCA), Michael Goldstein (JCC), Leland McGee, Jim Meyer, Penny Harmon, Amy Winkler and Tashira Wheeler.
The Fanwood/Scotch Plains YMCA was the starting point for many volunteers. The day started with a lunch hosted by Nick’s Pizza of Fanwood, giving everyone the fuel they needed to complete their activities.
Residents joined Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover and Councilman Lou Beckerman in finding out what volunteer opportunities were available.
There were many organizations who participated in the event, including Best Friend Dog and Animal Adoption and Homefirst.
Best Friend Dog and Animal Adoption, Inc. is located at 1750 East Second Street in Scotch Plains. It is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization “dedicated to giving dogs and cats a second chance at life.” They are currently in need of donations to restock their thrift store. Items needed include jewelry, small furniture, antiques and collectibles and clothing. They can be reached at (908) 322-2502. They are online at bestfriend.petfinder.com.
Homefirst is in its 26th year of operation. Located at 905 Watchung Ave. in Plainfield since 1986, the building is home to Family Support and Youth Success Center. “Homefirst delivers comprehensive solutions to homelessness by providing transitional and permanent housing, homeless prevention assistance and family support services to strengthen families and build communities.” They can be reached at (908) 753-4002 and www.homefirstinc.org.
Participants are encouraged to send their reactions and comments to email@example.com along with any photos. And, of course, the MLK Day Committee is already beginning thoughts and plans for the next annual event – let them know what you would like to do next year!