Local volunteer opportunities abound for MLK Day of service

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By Sue Ann Rybak

Todd Bernstein, founder and director of 25th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, said in a statement that “a national record of more than 150,000 volunteers are expected to participate in more 1,800 community service projects throughout the region” on Monday, Jan. 20, the National King Day of Service.

Bernstein, who is also president of Global Citizen, said this year’s King Day of Service will focus on “Voting Rights Then & Now – the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the Role of Black Women in Suffrage Movement & the Importance of being counted in the 2020 US Census.”

For the 11th year in a row, Girard College will serve as the signature project site. More than 100 workshops and projects are expected to take place at the site including a presentation by members of The Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters, the group of men and who demonstrated in the 1960s for an end to the discriminatory admissions policies at Girard College. They will share their experiences in the Civil Rights Movement and answer questions.

When the Local asked Mt. Airy resident Bernstein what impact the Martin Luther King Day of Service can have on communities such as Chestnut Hill and Germantown, which despite being only three miles apart geographically, are two of the most socioeconomically divided neighborhoods.

“In these times of great turmoil and division in the country, we can look to the legacy and example of Dr. King as a model of diverse coalitions working together to help solve some of most pressing challenges we face in this community,” he said.

Friends of the Wissahickon is just one of the  many organizations looking for volunteers. It will hold its Sixth annual Service Day at the historic Thomas Mansion in Germantown from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thomas Mansion was built in 1869 by George Clifford Thomas and his wife Caroline Sheetz. Ruffian Tittman, Friends of Wissahickon’s executive director, said the property once boasted beautifully landscaped gardens and a greenhouse, needs lots of regular maintenance to keep from becoming overgrown.

FOW and volunteers will clear the overgrown invasive plants along the mansion’s driveway and clear the area around 20 native trees, planted by FOW on the grounds last fall, to ensure they are safe and thriving.

To volunteer, meet at Thomas Mansion at 9 a.m. at 6245 Wissahickon Ave. in Germantown. Please register at fow.org/events to register.

Below are some of the service projects, prayer services, concerts and other events happening in our area. Readers can register for all service projects at mlkdayofservice.org/volunteer. Please note some service projects may be full as of this publication.

Unitarian Society of Germantown

Volunteers are needed to make soup, to make birthday cards for seniors, to assemble breakfast bags, decorate lunch bags, assemble trail mix bags for delivery to local boys and girls club, participate in letter writing regarding various issues such as gun control, immigration, and economic justice. Drivers with cars and others are needed to help deliver bagged lunches, snacks and soup to local service agencies. Lincoln Drive, 19119 Email mlkday@usguu.org and or register at mlkdayofservice.org/volunteer.

The Unitarian Society is hosting a number of other volunteer efforts. To see their program offerings and register, visit mlkdayofservice.org/volunteer

Friends of Germantown-NW

Friends of Germantown-NW will celebrate its 5th anniversary of community partnership with Germantown Friends School by cleaning it up and making it safe. The MLK day activity will involve environmental corridor cleaning. The cultural enrichment will be highlighted by civic engagement through tour lecture of “The Great Road” Germantown Avenue. For more information, contact Keith Schenck friendsofgermantownw@yahoo.com

Concerned Neighbors of Greater Germantown, Inc.

Volunteers needed to clean inside and outside Happy Hollow Recreation Center. Several slots still available. Wayne Avenue, Germantown

Soup-Making at Summit Presbyterian Church

Volunteers will check in at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, attend a brief service, and then go to the project site to prepare chicken soup for a local soup kitchen. Greene Street, Mt. Airy

Germantown Friends

The school will hold an Intergroup Dialogue on Race and Class led by Germantown Friends School educators and Germantown Monthly Meeting activists and hold a supplies and clothing drive for Cradles to Crayons. While it has several projects, volunteers are still needed to pick up litter along Germantown Avenue and Market Square, between Coulter Street and School House Lane, Germantown.

Shawna’s House Inc., 5900 Greene St. in Germantown, is hosting a Crisis Readiness & Awareness Skills Shop. The workshop will have an open discussion regarding the importance of putting your phone down to potentially save a life. In addition to putting humanity before trying to impress the society of social media. The workshop will also have CPR demonstrations from Councilman Bobby Henon’s office and mobile CPR. The workshop will also discuss a crisis plan in the event of one. You must RSVP by emailing shawna@shawnahouse.com.

For more information about the 25th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, go to mlkdayofservice.org.

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