In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a National Day of Service. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off,” giving Americans of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to honor the legacy of Dr. King through service to their community. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
For the past several years, Catholic Volunteer Network has celebrated MLK Day by inviting current volunteers and alumni to participate in service to their communities. This year, we sponsored service events in Chicago and Washington, D.C. on January, 20th.
|DC alumni pose with Joe Biden after serving meals to the homeless at SOME.|
In Washington, D.C. fifteen volunteers and alumni gathered to serve a meal to the homeless with CVN member program, So Others Might Eat. Volunteers at this event were delighted to be joined by Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived unannounced. The group spent some time chatting with the Vice President about their service experiences before getting to work. Biden, the father of a JVC alum, encouraged Catholic Volunteer Network to continue our important work of service to the poor.
Sixty volunteers came out for the Chicago event, serving another CVN member program, Misericordia Home, which offers care and support for individuals with mild to profound developmental disabilities. Some volunteers hosted a yoga session for residents, while others cleaned and organized the social center. Following the service project, volunteers shared a simple meal and engaged in a reflection on the life of Dr. King.
In addition to these two events, CVN programs across the country engaged in service to their communities in a variety of ways. AmeriCorps members serving with Boys Hope Girls Hope and Loretto Volunteers served at City Garden Montessori Charter School in St. Louis, Mo. Volunteers serving in Washington, D.C. gathered for an afternoon of dialogue on the topic of race and community service. We are thankful for all the great impact our Network has made on communities across the country.
MLK Day is celebrated only one day of the year, but Dr. King’s impact is felt every day. As we celebrate Black History Month, we take another opportunity to remember the great strides he made for equality and justice for all.
We want to hear from you – how do you continue to live out the spirit of MLK Day throughout the year?