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Record Participation for MLK Day of Service in Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Crowd sings "We Shall Overcome." Credits: John Mooney
Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains Credits: John Mooney
Scotch Plains Council members Llewellyn Jones and Rose Checchio, Mayor Kevin Glover, Union Co. Freeholder Al Mirabella, and Assemblyman Jim Kennedy Credits: John Mooney
JCC Executive Director Jennifer Mamlet welcomes the crowd. Credits: John Mooney
MLK Day organizers Courtney Agnello, Michelle Shapiro Abraham, and Amanda Barnett. The trio has organized the observance for the 7th straight year.   Credits: John Mooney
Girl Scouts volunteered on MLK Day of Service on Monday. Credits: John Mooney
The Terrill Middle School Choir sang the national anthem and the iconic Civil Rights song, "We Shall Overcome." Credits: John Mooney
Michelle Abraham and Rabbi Joel Abraham read a Proclamation from Union County honoring Michelle's efforts for the MLK Day of Service in Scotch Plains-Fanwood.  Credits: John Mooney
Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover thanks volunteers for their efforts on MLK Day of Service on Monday at the JCC. Credits: John Mooney
Record participation at the 7th annual MLK Day of Service in Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Credits: John Mooney
Leland McGee (l) is congratulated by Rabbi Joel Abraham (r) for being named the recipient of the inaugural Scotch Plains-Fanwood MLK Day of Service award. Credits: John Mooney
Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of New Jersey's MetroWest Federation, with his daughter, Yael. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The seventh annual Martin Luther King Day of Service drew several hundred volunteers to more than two dozen events throughout Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Monday. Volunteers and organizers viewed it as "a day on, not a day off" by taking part in a wide range of activities to help others.

There was something for everyone, as kids made cards for other kids who are sick, made sandwiches for the homeless and drew Valentines for the troops. Adults gave blood, made mittens from old sweaters, took part in a round-table discussion and contributed by donating clothes and sneakers for the less fortunate.

The day-long event was organized by Michele Shapiro Abraham, Courtney Agnello and Amanda Barnett, three Fanwood women who started the event seven years ago and have organized it ever since.

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At the MLK Day opening ceremony held at the JCC, speakers included Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover, Union County Freeholder Al Mirabella, Assemblyman Jim Kennedy, and Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom, among others. It included the presentation of the inaugural MLK Day of Service award to Leland McGee of Social Justice Matters and a stirring performance of "We Shall Overcome" by the Terrill Middle School choir.

"Dr. King said, “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.' Leland McGee is one of those dedicated individuals," said Rabbi Joel Abraham. "(He is) tireless and passionate in his pursuit of human progress. It is with great humility and joy that we honor Leland S. McGee as the inaugural Scotch PlainsFanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service awardee."


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