TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – More than 430 volunteers donated time and energy to make The Volunteer Center of United Way's Martin Luther King Day of Service a success throughout Westchester and other nearby communities.
The MLK Day of Service featured 30 volunteer projects throughout communities in Westchester, Rockland, Ulster and Orange counties.
"We are thrilled that so many individuals and families donated their time and energy to help solve community problems while also paying tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," said Alisa H. Kesten, executive director of The Volunteer Center. "The volunteer projects addressed such pressing issues such as poverty, hunger, homelessness and inequality. In addition, several focused on disaster preparation and response including a training for United Way's 2-1-1, post-Sandy clean up at the Rye Nature Center and training with the American Red Cross and Ulster Corps."
Volunteers, who contributed a total of 1,170 service hours, took part in helping to do the following things:
• Inspire young children and teens to contemplate King's legacy and their own dreams, and then create three big “I have a dream” collages at the Carver Center in Port Chester and the Grinton I. Will Branch of the Yonkers Public Library. The collages can be viewed at the YWCA of Yonkers and the Carver Center.
• Make 132 Valentine's Day cards for children at Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla.
• Address hunger by assembling 300 lunch-bags for needy individuals and families served by The Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program in Spring Valley and women in residence at the White Plains YWCA.
• Put together 130 toiletry bags for those in need at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry and My Sisters’ Place in White Plains.
• Design an MLK timeline and encourage young children and teens at the White Plains Youth Bureau to think about the life of King and how he has inspired people to make a difference.
• Organize and sort hundreds of clothes for children at Family Services of Westchester's The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester and Pass it On Kid’s Kloset of Westchester Jewish Community Services in White Plains. The clothing will help under-served children to dress appropriately and proudly.
• Entertain some 50 seniors at Family Services of Westchester's My Second Home in Mount Kisco and at Somers Manor.
• Collect 465 food items for the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food pantry to deliver to needy families.
"The MLK Day of Service provides a wonderful opportunity for families to serve together and people of all ages and walks of life to join neighbors and local leaders to help make a difference in their own backyards," Kesten said. "However, we should remember that local nonprofits need our volunteer help 24/7, 365 days a year. We welcome the public to get more involved with The Volunteer Center and be part of the solution. Together, we can make things better and help people who cannot help themselves."