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United in Service: Catholic Charities and UJA join with Volunteers in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  National Day of Service.

Encore Community Services, MLK Day of Service
Brothers Enjoying Lunch at Encore Community Services in Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Photo credit: Catholic Charities NY

On Monday, January 15th, Catholic Charities New York joined forces with the UJA Federation of New York to commemorate the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. together. The day was characterized by collaborative volunteer initiatives spanning the Archdiocese, uniting diverse groups with a common objective – to uphold the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by actively contributing to their communities and fostering unity and understanding.

Meal and Kit packing with Pierre Toussaint Scholars at Met Council:

At the Met Council, Catholic Charities and UJA, brought together undergraduates from the Pierre Toussaint Scholars for a day of service. Putting into practice education, faith, and community service, they packaged crucial items for those in need, including Halal food boxes, emergency food boxes, and spice kits. The day of service not only reflected a holistic approach to addressing diverse community needs but also embodied the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The initiative, guided by the spirit of Dr. King, aimed to honor his commitment to social justice by actively engaging in meaningful service that promotes unity, understanding, and the well-being of others.

Beautify NYCHA Grant Houses’ Youth Programming Space:

Collaborating with UJA and volunteers from Repair the World, Catholic Charities undertook the task of beautifying the community’s youth space at NYCHA’s Grant Houses in Morningside Heights. Going beyond traditional volunteering, they engaged in painting and cleaning activities to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for youth programming classes such as free boxing lessons, dance classes, and afterschool activities. This collective effort not only beautifies the physical space but also signifies a profound commitment to uplifting the lives of the youth in the community by fostering a sense of pride and well-being. Dr. King’s vision of building a better society through collective efforts that uplift and improve the quality of life for all was put into action at the Grant Houses.

Encore Community Service – Senior Luncheon and Activities:

Volunteers from Catholic Charities convened at Encore Community Services, a valued partner agency, to support seniors by offering a warm meal during their luncheon in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At Encore’s location in the Theater District, volunteers engaged seniors in games and in art projects, creating a vibrant atmosphere of joy and togetherness.

Reflecting on her experience, Angelika Morton, Encore volunteer, expressed, “I had a wonderful time at Encore Community Services. The staff was very friendly and easy to work with. There was lots of laughter and togetherness while serving meals to the seniors. Our group of volunteers was really helpful and fun to get to know, sharing the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

Packing Food Bags with KIPP NYC:

In a collaborative effort supported by Catholic Charities, high school students from KIPP NYC generously volunteered their time to assemble food bags for distribution in their Bronx community. Acknowledging the area’s status as a food desert, Catholic Charities took proactive steps by purchasing and delivering essential food items packaged by the students. These items specifically addressed the need for increased grain and protein sources, mirroring Dr. King’s vision of collective action for positive change. As we witness the impact of our future leaders, it becomes a poignant reminder that service projects initiated on Martin Luther King Jr. Day resonate far beyond a single occasion, leaving a lasting imprint on communities and embodying the principles of compassion and justice that Dr. King championed throughout his life.

Alianza Hoop Haven at Kennedy Center:

In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., youth engaged in a spirited single-day basketball tournament organized by Catholic Charities’ Alianza Youth Division at the Hoop Haven program located at the Kennedy Center in Harlem. Stepping up to the challenge, volunteers from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office assumed roles as referees and coaches, offering valuable guidance and support to the youth throughout the day’s events. Beyond the thrill of the game, this event takes on added importance on this day of service, symbolizing unity, teamwork, and the collective spirit of community betterment. The District Attorney’s office volunteers not only contributed to the success of the tournament but also embody the principles of Dr. King’s legacy, emphasizing the transformative power of community collaboration and engagement.

Enduring Legacy of Hope:

On the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, these diverse volunteer activities, exemplifie the spirit of service inspired by Dr. King’s legacy.  Partnering with UJA alongside volunteers from the Met Council, Pierre Toussaint Scholars program, Repair the World, KIPP NYC, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, NYCHA, Encore Community Services, and so many others, we exemplify the strength of collective action in fostering positive change. Through shared meals, creative endeavors, and acts of kindness, our day of service becomes a living tribute to Dr. King’s legacy, resonating with the enduring principles of unity, compassion, and social justice that continue to shape our communities.

To explore exciting volunteer opportunities with Catholic Charities and join in the impactful service initiatives, visit our website for more information. Additionally, if you wish to contribute to the meaningful work we do through a donation, your support is greatly appreciated and can make a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve.