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Chester County Press

Day of Service a fitting celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

01/18/2016 11:17PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is much more than an extra day off from school for many local students. On Monday, Jan. 18, students throughout the area were doing their part to make the world a slightly better place by volunteering in a wide variety of ways.

Avon Grove schools joined the Kennett Square-based MLK CommUNITY Food Drive. Food collected between Jan. 4 and 15 was distributed to Greater Kennett Area Food Cupboard and The Bridge at the Church of the Nazarene in West Grove.

Students in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District contributed to nearly 40 different projects ranging from food donations to cleanups to visiting residents in nursing homes.

In Oxford, the 25th annual Spirit of Giving Luncheon took place on Monday. This luncheon started as a way to support the Neighborhood Services Center, which helps thousands of people with food and financial assistance to pay for housing, heating, utilities, or health care needs.

All of these events embody the spirit of the Martin Luther King Day of Service, which has come a long way in a short time.

Legislation making Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, Jan. 15, a federal holiday was signed into law in 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. Then, Harris Wofford, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, and John Lewis, a U.S. Congressman from Atlanta, GA, co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act that was signed into law by former U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1994. This federal legislation challenged Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action and volunteer service.

Participation in the Martin Luther King Day of Service has flourished, with hundreds of thousands of Americans doing work that honor the legacy of Dr. King.

Dr. Martin Hudacs, a former superintendent of the Solanco School District who served as the guest speaker at the Spirit of Giving Luncheon, quoted Dr. King who once said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?'”

As a champion in the Civil Rights Movement and an activist who relished the concept of power to the people, is there any doubt that King would like that this day that bears his name is all about citizens taking action and working together to strengthen the community?

One of the best aspects of the Day of Service is the fact that so many young people are involved. This community service teaches children about the value of giving back to the community. The national Martin Luther King Day of Service also illustrates what can be accomplished with a call to action. The Day of Service is a fitting way to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

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