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Chester County Press

Students and families will make a difference on Jan. 18

01/11/2016 01:00PM ● By J. Chambless

Sports equipment was collected last year at Pocopson Elementary School.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

While schools across the country will be pitching in to serve their communities on Jan. 18, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District responds in a very, very big way.

To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on his birthday, the district contributes to almost 40 different projects – everything from food donations to cleanups to working with nursing homes and shelters in the region.

Food donations were sorted and packed at Unionville High School during last year's MLK Day of Service.

 Students can also join clean-up projects at Anson B. Nixon Park, the Church of the Open Door, Family Promise of Southern Chester County, Friends Home in Kennett, His Mission, La Communidad Hispana, Luther House and the Tick-Tock Early Learning Center. There are books to be moved at the Kennett Public Library, medical supplies to sort at Project C.U.R.E., and playtime to be shared with students in YMCA daycare. At Unionville High School, the largest project involves sorting and distributing food donated to schools throughout the district on the morning of Jan. 18. Dozens of students gather in the school cafeteria to sort the packages, box them up and carry them to a tractor trailer, which then delivers the food to the Kennett Food Cupboard in the evening. But there are many more options, including visiting residents at the Pocopson Home, the Adult Care of Chester County, Jenners Pond, the Kennett Senior Center, and the Twin Pines Health Care Center, where students plan and present a “Senior Prom” by dancing and celebrating with residents.

Families volunteered to make lunches at Hillendale Elementary School last year.

 While Jan. 18 is a day off from school, the goal of the Day of Service is to make it a day of giving back. The connections made by students and families with the area's organizations can become long-lasting, turning one day of helping into a habit of volunteering. Students from Patton Middle School are part of the Anson B. Nixon Park clean-up. But even the district's youngest students get involved. Children and families at Chadds Ford Elementary are collecting toys, dental hygiene items and pajamas, as well as books, to donate to the Chester County Family Academy School in West Chester. At Hillendale Elementary School, families make 100 quarts of soup and 300 bagged lunches on the morning of Jan. 18 to be given to needy families in southern Chester County. The school is running a food drive, and collecting backpacks and school supplies to be given to La Communidad Hispana. Students at Unionville Elementary School are contributing to the district's food drive as well.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email