More than 100,000 people turned out to participate in Philadelphia’s 1,500 MLK Day of Service events Monday. The 18th annual celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King spurred a burst of activity ranging from service projects to free museum admission, workshops to bridge the digital divide and more.
PlanPhilly stopped by three volunteer sites in North Philly to see what participants were up to.
Piney Grove Baptist Church
At Piney Grove Baptist Church on the 5000 block of North 17th Street, members of the church, individual volunteers and two university groups – one from La Salle University and another from Villanova University – filled an entire dumpster after cleaning the church basement and sound room as well as the neighboring streets and schoolyard.
“They’re a very big help and not only that but they’re very fine and courteous,” said Donna Corbin, a member of the church who helped make lunch for the volunteers.
LOGAN Hope School
Across Broad Street, LOGAN Hope School celebrated a “day off, but a day on,” with kids from the school’s kindergarten through eighth grade classes volunteering alongside volunteers from Messiah College’s Philadelphia campus, Drexel University, and individual MLK Day of Service volunteers.
Together the volunteers cleaned the north side of Hunting Park and streets around LOGAN Hope. Others reorganized the library in LOGAN Hope’s middle school building.
Ken MacBain, the school’s executive director, said Logan CDC cleans the business district and parts of North Broad Street, but east of that, where volunteers focused their efforts Monday, is not cleaned as frequently.
Giving of Self Partnership, Inc.
Just north of Logan, near Ogontz Avenue, volunteers gathered at Giving of Self Partnership, Inc., a faith-based community resource center that offers a food bank, senior citizens center, day care, after school programs, job placement assistance and more.
Approximately 20 volunteers worked to inventory supply closets, restock the food pantry, sort clothes and camp supplies and do some general cleaning.
“They fill in what we can’t get to in a normal week,” said Jasmine Rushum, the linkage and referral coordinator at Giving of Self. “We’re a small non-profit so there’s a few people here, and we can’t get everything done.”
She explained that by having volunteers inventory what Giving of Self Partnership, Inc. has, the organization can have a better idea of what it can give. The food pantry alone supplies 500 clients each month and is open everyday except Thursday.
From 2012-2014 Christine covered transportation, writing about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments sent her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covered community news for Eyes on the Street, where her work ranged from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website.