As you may have heard, Gloucester Township will soon be hosting its second annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, headed up by Gloucester Township Council Vice President Orlando Mercado. The day of service will be held this Monday, Jan. 21, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Here is a list of the planned service projects, according to Gloucester Township's official website:
St.Vincent de Paul Society (Food Bank at St. Agnes Church) – Organization, inventory and collection of donations
Gloucester Township Senior Campus I – Zumba with the seniors
Camden County Animal Shelter – Assist in the care of sheltered animals
Cards for Soldiers – Create cards of hope and thanks to send to our brave men and women
PB & J Sandwiches for the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden – Make and deliver a take-home snack for those in need
Blenheim Fire Co. – Help the men and women of this local fire station with some clean-up duties
Superstorm Sandy Relief - Collect bottles of dish detergent (16 to 28 oz.), scrub brushes and non-cellulose, mold-resistant sponges for delivery to Chews United Methodist Church's Flood Bucket Drive (No kitchen, dish or toilet scrub brushes)
Smiles for Sandy Hook Elementary School - Create cards filled with smiles for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary
Gloucester Township Recreation Center – Paint the rec center's rink wall
Gloucester Township Veterans Monument - General cleanup of the monument area
Relay for Life – Create purple ribbons to distribute for Paint the Town Purple Week in Gloucester Township
As of Monday night, about 110 people had signed up to participate in the Day of Service, according to Mercado.
If you haven't signed up, or can't make it to one of the township's service projects, there are still some great things you can do to commemorate MLK Day. Here is a list of some "green" service projects that can help you make MLK Day a day on instead of a day off.
Clean up a local park. Grab a few friends and go! You're helping your community and getting fresh air and exercise in the process.
Plant a tree. You don't even have to leave home to do this one. It embraces the beauty of nature and helps clean up the environment. Plus, strategic planting of trees around your home can reduce your energy bills, too. No room for a tree or not the planting type? Have a tree planted elsewhere in honor of Dr. King, or in memory of someone special. You can easily find out about the different types of tree planting donations at the Arbor Day Foundation's website.
Enhance recycling efforts. Plan to set up an electronics or battery recycling day at your school or office. Then make it a monthly thing. Have a drop bin or box for people to bring in their items and then volunteer to take the collections to a nearby drop-off or collection station. You can often find local collection locations for such items at earth911's website.
Clean up a lake or stream. If there is a lake, stream or creek in your neighborhood that is littered with garbage or debris, why not clean it up? Not only will it make the area look nicer, but it creates a safer environment for birds and wildlife. You may wish to contact your local government for information on issues regarding clean-up, waste materials and who will be able to pick up the debris that you collect if needed. In most cases, they will probably appreciate the assistance.
Rake leaves. Yes, they are still out there. Why not volunteer to rake up any leaves for elderly neighbors or for folks who just haven't quite gotten around to it yet?
Trash picking. That is, picking up litter from parking lots, roadways and playgrounds around your area. Get out in the cool, crisp air, get some exercise and help to beautify the community all in the name of Dr. King.
Give back. Collect old clothing, books and toys, and donate them to an area day care center or family shelter. Not only are you helping others, but you're giving new life to items that might otherwise soon be making a trip to the landfill.
Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
So on Monday get out there and be great. Get out there and serve.