Volunteers serve in honor of MLK Day

Workers use national holiday as day on, not off

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. sort books and help out where they can on MLK Day.
The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. sort books and help out where they can on MLK Day.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Volunteers chose to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by serving others.

Saturday was the official MLK Day of Service. But volunteers said they wanted to use the national holiday as a day on, not a day off.

To accomplish that, they did everything from planting gardens to stocking food and donations at different charities.

At the Teacher Supply Depot, it was about getting supplies organized. Volunteers there said they feel good to get out and honor King on his day.

"Everything was crammed up, so we just organized everything," volunteer Ara Sandel said.

Sandel and her co-workers at the Navy hospital spent their holiday doing heavy lifting at the supply store, not exactly what you'd imagine for a day off. But they said they wanted to give back.

"It's been hard. We're all sweaty already and dirty, but it feels good 'cause we feel fulfilled that we're helping out people," Sandel said.

That's what motivated most of the volunteers there, a sense of fulfilling King's dream.

For Nadia Candelaria and her brother Sean, it meant painting boards for children to play games.

"I thought it would be nice to do it so they could have fun and play," Candelaria said.

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. joined in, sorting books and helping out where they could.

"Today is Dr. King's birthday, and he believed in service, and we wanted to follow and do what his dream is about serving mankind," said Mary L. Brown, of the sorority.

Volunteers with HandsOn Jacksonville decided to extend to the King holiday from Saturday to Monday.

Volunteers came together all across the area Monday. At the Mission House in Jacksonville Beach, it was about organizing and stocking food donations.

At Peach-Na-Basket Adult Day Care Center, workers served by preparing for spring planting in their herb garden. It's the same garden donated to them during last year's Day of Service.

The center said by getting out and planting, they are keeping Dr. King's dream alive.

"He was about service and serving the people and doing what was good for the low man," said B. Dolores Flemming, of the day care center. "So in helping to provide nourishing food for our participants who come to the day care, we are honoring Martin."