Scotch Plains & Fanwood Residents Invited To Give Back To Their Communities

UNION COUNTY — For the third year in a row, residents in the towns of Fanwood and Scotch Plains will be able to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by giving back to their communities.

On Jan. 16, the 3rd Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service will take place in a variety of locations within these neighboring towns, providing an exciting volunteer opportunity for the whole family. Dr. King believed that “everybody can be great because everybody can serve” and residents can support this belief by donating their time and lending a hand to the many diverse and worthy organizations in their area.

Sponsored by the towns of Scotch Plains and Fanwood, the Ministirium, the JCC of Central New Jersey, the YMCA and other local groups, the MLK Day of Service has become an important event for the community.

Last year’s event, which involved more than 40 local organizations and attracted over 500 volunteers, was a resounding success and this year’s Day of Service promises to build upon and surpass this effort. The most exciting aspect of this day is the fact that it encourages the entire family to become involved. Age-appropriate activities will take place throughout the two towns, from creating get well cards for cancer patients to baking apple pies for senior citizens. For the adult members of the family, there will be opportunities such as cleaning the local nature center to working at a nearby Habitat for Humanity site.

“So many organizations in our community have created volunteer opportunities for the day,” says Amanda Barnett, a member of the planning task force. “There truly is something for everyone.”

MLK Day 2012 will kick off with a “Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King” during the Opening Program at the JCC of Central New Jersey. Michael Goldstein, JCC Program Director, says “we are working with several community partners—schools and religious organizations—to create what will be a memorable and stirring musical presentation. It will be an inspiring way to start a “day on” of meaningful community service.” All are welcome. Activities will begin immediately following the opening program and will be held throughout Scotch Plains and Fanwood between 11:15 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Interested volunteers should visit On-line registration will run through Jan. 15. Though same-day registration will be available during the Opening Program, participants are strongly encouraged to register on-line as space is very limited and has filled up quickly in the past.

On this, the 25th anniversary of the federal King holiday, the creators and committee members behind this day have taken Dr. King’s advice to heart: “Life’s most urgent and persistent question is: what are you doing for others?” “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring our community together,” says MLK Day Task Force Co-Chair, Michelle Shapiro Abraham. “Not only will every member of the family learn the importance of giving back, but they’ll also discover all the wonderful volunteer organizations at work in their community.”

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