Volunteers put together lunch bags at the Rockland interfaith Breakfast program in Spring Valley as part of the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 18. The activities were among some thirty service projects throughout communities in Westchester, Rockland, Ulster and Orange counties organized by The Volunteer Center of United Way.
"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, helped:
- Inspire young children and teens to contemplate Dr. 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 Dr. King and how he has inspired us 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 underserved 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," said Kesten. "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."
Participating nonprofits include: American Red Cross of the Mid-Hudson Valley in Kingston, Carver Center in Port Chester, Clay Art Center in Port Chester, FAMILY of Woodstock in Kingston, Family Services of Westchester’s The Sharing Shelf in Port Chester, Family Services of Westchester's My Second Home in Mount Kisco, Furniture Sharehouse in White Plains, Groundwork Hudson Valley in Yonkers, Habitat Newburgh, HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle, The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. in Tarrytown, Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, Mount Vernon Animal Shelter, My Sisters' Place in White Plains, Pass It On Kid's Closet of Westchester Jewish Community Services in White Plains, Repair Café in New Paltz, Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program in Spring Valley, Rye Nature Center, Somers Manor, Ulster County Habitat for Humanity in Kingston, UlsterCorps in Stone Ridge, United Way's 2-1-1 in White Plains, White Plains YMCA, White Plains YWCA, YWCA of Yonkers, White Plains Youth Bureau, Worldwide Community First Responder in Spring Valley, and the Yonkers Public Library.
The Volunteer Center’s annual community-wide call to action for the MLK Day of Service is made possible thanks to the generosity of Westchester County, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Corporate Champions: New York Life Insurance Company, MasterCard, TD Charitable Foundation, PepsiCo, IBM, Bunge, Con Edison, Mack-Cali, Robison Oil Company, Scent2Market, The Dannon Company, M&T Bank, Regeneron, The Rollins Agency, Reader's Digest, Chubb, Erie Insurance Company, O’Connor Davies LLP, and RPW Group.
About The Volunteer Center of United Way:
Awarded the Top-Rated Nonprofit designation two years in a row, The Volunteer Center’s core mission is to inspire, mobilize, and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits and strengthen the quality of life in our community. The Volunteer Center is a one-stop resource devoted to increasing volunteerism in Westchester and our surrounding communities. We encourage adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom and businesses to support our community. Through organized volunteer projects, as well as by connecting individuals to nonprofit organizations, The Volunteer Center helps people take action to strengthen the quality of life in their community. Over 250,500 hours of service were devoted last year to 500 nonprofits at a value of over $8.2 million. In September 2011, The Volunteer Center was designated one of ten Regional Volunteer Centers in the State of New York, covering the Mid-Hudson Valley. For more information, visit www.volunteer-center.org.