SUMMIT, NJ - Speaking to a group of junior high students in the autumn of 1967, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked his audience, "What is your life's blueprint?"

For more than two decades, the Summit community made honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. part of its blueprint, celebrating his birthday as a 'Day of Service'. The day-long event invites all who live, work, worship and volunteer in Hilltop City to participate in a town-wide collection and donation of food, clothing and small household items, as well as join a discussion on how -- together and through citizen action -- new pathways can be forged new toward what Dr. King called the "Beloved Community."

As a new decade begins, Summit celebrates its 22nd service event with a community conversation entitled 'Becoming the Beloved Community', an effort to move "beyond the dream" and contextualize Summit's Martin Luther King Day activities and commitment to service within the broader conversation of social justice exemplified by Dr. King in his words and actions.

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The Reverend Dr. Robin Tanner, Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, will keynote the discussions. Panel presentations by Donna Goggin Patel, Chair of the Summit Environmental Commission, Amanda Parish Block, Founder and Executive Director of Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community's Essentials and, Reverend Vernon Williams, Vice-President Summit Interfaith Council and Associate Minister Fountain Baptist Church, will focus on Environmental Justice, Food Insecurity and Anti-Racism, respectively. With an eye on Youth Engagement, the panel will touch on the WHY and HOW of current activities and raise the question, Where Do We Go From Here? in the quest for a "beloved community."

This community conversation will be held January 20, from 10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m., at St. John's Lutheran Church, which is located at 587 Springfield Avenue.

Organized by Shaping Summit Together and supported by the organization's donors and sponsors, the full schedule of Summit events and activities leading up to and on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day includes:

Week of January 13 - 22 -- 'Reusable Bags Needed for Food Pantries'

Excess reusable bags (new or used / any size / any logo) needed for various food pantries and organizations in Summit. Recipients will include G.R.A.C.E.'s Refrigerator, Loaves and Fishes, Meals on Wheels, Bridges Outreach, Area Baby Center and Summit Helping Its People. Drop off locations at: Reeves-Reed Arboretum, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Summit Public Library and the Summit Community Center. Sponsored by Green Summit.

January 14, 3 p.m. -- 'Service Projects for Teens & Pre-Teens' 

Grades 6 – 12: Drop in to create a card for hospitalized kids, write to a soldier, design a bookmark for library patrons, Color a Smile, or make a toy for a shelter dog. Student participants will earn two community service hours. Summit Library, 75 Maple Street.

January 19, 10 a.m. -- 'Unity Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'

Central Presbyterian Church, located at 70 Maple Street, will host congregations of three churches who will worship together, including Fountain Baptist Church, Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church, and Central Presbyterian Church. All members of the community are welcome. Free parking in the Elm Street lot. Childcare available for children under 8 years of age. 

January 19, 1:30 - 4:45 p.m. -- 'Toni Morrison: The Piece I Am'

Documentary film screening sponsored by SCC/AAUW and League of Women Voters. New Providence Library, 377 Elkwood Avenue.


January 20 - 'Community Groups in Need of Donations'

  • Area Baby Center: diapers size 3 to 6 and baby wipes; drop at Twin Maples (rear entrance), 214 Springfield Avenue, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Christ Child Society of Summit: onesies or outfits - newborn to 6 months; MONDO, 426 Springfield Avenue, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

January 20, 7 - 8:30 a.m. -- 'Helping Those Who Help Us'

Members of CHAT por Summit will serve our “day laborers" coffee and baked goods on the corner of Ashwood Avenue. Donations of clean, gently worn winter clothing for adults are extremely needed: coats, sweaters, gloves & hats. Call 908-967-3549 to confirm attendance and weather conditions.

January 20, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. -- 'Reuse, Recycle and Reach Out'

Sponsored by Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Stop by the Stackhouse Education Center, located at 165 Hobart Avenue, to create a unique, one- of-a-kind card from recycled materials. On Valentine’s Day, the cards will warm the heart of a patient in a local hospital. Appropriate for all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is not required.

January 20, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. -- 'Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent'

A film about the power of a voice for justice. After the screening, there will be a Q&A with Rachel Fisher, one of the film’s directors.The Summit Interfaith Council will lead a panel discussion entitled 'Beyond Silence: Tools for Young People and Adults to Disrupt, Interrupt and Stand Up Against Bias and Hate'. Arts and crafts activities will be provided for children. Refreshments will be served. Kent Place School, 42 Norwood Avenue.

January 20, 10- 11:30 a.m. -- 'Bridge the Gap Between the Housed and Homeless'

Bridges Outreach will host volunteer activities for all ages to benefit homeless children and adults; children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please register at Bridges Outreach at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue.

January 20, 10 - 11:30 a.m. -- 'Site 2: Bridge the Gap Between Housed and Homeless'

Members of Central Presbyterian Church will host volunteer activities for all ages to benefit homeless children and adults; children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Info at Central Presbyterian Church, 70 Maple Street.

January 20, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. -- 'Collaborative Art Activation'

All are invited to participate in a collaborative art activation to commemorate Dr. King and unify the community. The Connection commemorates nearly 100 years of welcoming all since the day it opened. The Connection, 79 Maple Street.

January 20, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. -- 'Voter Registration'

Sponsored by Tri-City NAACP, all adults and youth (age 18 on or before Election Day and older) are invited to register to vote. All forms and details available. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 587 Springfield Avenue.

January 20, 10:45 and 11:30 a.m. (Two, 30-minute sessions) -- 'Through a Dog’s Eyes!'

Sponsored by The Seeing Eye of Morristown, attendees will meet puppies and their raisers. Learn the history of the organization, which celebrated it’s 90th anniversary in 2019, and how dogs enhance independence, dignity and self-confidence of blind people. The Connection, 79 Maple Street.

January 20, 10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. -- 'Community Conversation: Becoming the Beloved Community'

Join members of our community for an engaging discussion of Dr. King’s words and activism that move us ‘beyond the dream’ to the “Beloved Community”. With a focus on environmental justice, food insecurity an anti-racism, a panel of Summit’s religious and secular leaders will facilitate a conversation and explore ways in which Summit’s tradition of service can intersect with social justice and equality to create a model of “The Beloved Community." An overview of the enhanced opportunities for Youth Expression will also be shared. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 587 Springfield Avenue.

January 20, 12 - 1 p.m. -- 'Multi-Cultural Lite Bite Luncheon & Fellowship'

Sponsored by The Grand Summit Hotel, The Rotary Club of Summit and New Providence and Summit Boy Scout Troop 67. St. John’s Lutheran Church, 587 Springfield Avenue.

January 20, 12 - 4 p.m. -- 'Weaving Together a Beloved Community' 

Youth and adults are invited to make artwork or write text on thick paper strips to be woven into yarn-based wall hangings to contribute to the multiple weavings which will be hung in Summit in 2020. Materials for use will be available on site. All are invited to view the exhibitions; make contributions to the collaborative community artworks in honor and remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and actively engage in his message of equality, inclusivity, social justice, love. Sponsored by The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 68 Elm Street.

January 20, 1 - 2 p.m. -- 'Keeper of the Dream Award Ceremony'

2020 Honorees: Zachary Lyman Brooks, Morris Habitat for Humanity, Summit Environmental Commission and Leonard Prentice. Music by Bill Robinson and Dan Crisci. St. John's Lutheran Church Sanctuary, 587 Springfield Avenue.

January 20, 1 - 6 p.m. -- 'Community Blood Drive'

Advance reservations preferred. Visit (enter sponsor code Christ Church) or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Must be aged 16+. Sponsored by The Summit-New Providence Rotary Club and The American Red Cross. Christ Church, 561 Springfield Avenue.

January 20, 1 - 3:30 p.m. -- 'BMI Screenings and Glucose Screenings'

Sponsored by Atlantic Health System and Overlook Medical Center's Community Health Department. Registration and information available by calling 908-522-2842. Cornog Field House, 5 Myrtle Avenue.

January 20, 2 - 3 p.m. -- 'Coat Drive'

Donate coats for all ages. Teens will greet community members to collect and sort coats which will be donated to various organizations. The Summit YMCA Auditorium, 67 Maple Street.

January 20, 2 - 3:30 p.m. -- 'Support Our Neighbors Experiencing Food Insecurity'

All are welcome to donate and pack pantry essentials for GRACE families: salt, pepper, coffee, tea, honey, olive oil, vinegar. Hands-on project: tie fleece blankets for GRACE families. Register to volunteer with Operation Warm Hearts, a winter warming station for our housing- insecure neighbors. Sponsored jointly by Pilgrim Baptist and Beacon UU to support GRACE. Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 4 Waldron Avenue.

January 20, 2 - 4:30 p.m. -- 'TryCAN Families at the Movies'

Children with special needs are welcome to come out for a movie and dance party, highlighted by a showing of the movie 'Paddington Bear' on the big screen. Children will enjoy special entertainment. Chaperoned by volunteer teen mentors and sponsors’ staff. Limited number of teens welcome to volunteer and receive credit for Community Service. RSVP in advance to For infomation, visit Hosted and sponsored by the Summit PAL and Summit Community Programs. Summit Community Center, 100 Morris Avenue.

January 20, 3 -4 p.m. -- Songs of the Struggle'

Sing songs that inspired the Civil Rights Movement and helped build community as people struggled against racial injustice and oppression. Bring your hearts and voices and lend them to our present-day struggles against racism and injustices of all kinds. Led by Pastor Gladys G. Moore of St. John’s Lutheran Church. Refreshments follow facilitated by Dorothy Burger and family. Community Room, Vito A. Gallo Building, 12 Chestnut Avenue.

January 20, 4 - 6:30 p.m. -- 'Defining Moments: The Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead'

Documentary highlights the struggle and stories related to the African-American struggle for equality in the 20th century during the Civil Rights Movement in North Hempstead, NY. Film addresses housing discrimination and school segregation in northern communities and how a synagogue and a Black church worked together to address these issues. Discussion and pizza dinner to follow. RSVP to Sponsored by Congregation Ohr Shalom / SJCC, Temple Sinai and Congregation Beth Hatikvah. Congregation Beth Hatikvah, 36 Chatham Road.

January 20, 7 - 9:30 p.m. -- 'The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Evening Service'

Featuring a guest speaker. Sponsored by Fountain Baptist Church, The Tri-City NAACP and The Connection. Fountain Baptist Church, 116 Glenside Avenue.