On January 16, Martin Luther King Day, volunteers assembled at Union Temple in Brooklyn, for a day of service. They came from UJA Time for Good, Repair the World, Met Council on Jewish Poverty, and Union Temple.
Inside the elegant third floor ballroom at Union Temple, there were stalls, booths, and volunteers managing service projects. There were over 400 volunteers, and an army of coordinators.
The program tagged “Family Friendly Service for Our Brooklyn Neighbors,” attracted a huge turnout of participants, including families with children of all ages. The organizers hope this event will foster more volunteerism. It was also a way of letting young people know more about volunteering.
Ben Weiner of Repair the World stated that “The event provided an incredible opportunity for children and adults to make a difference, by honoring the legacy of civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Weiner described the four project areas of the Day of Service as food packaging, winter packages, school supplies packaging, and a letter writing campaign. Children and teenagers also had the opportunity to learn about Met Council’s mission to fight hunger and poverty. They learned that the food packaged at the event would be distributed to people experiencing food insecurity. Children also learned about SNAP benefits. In addition to story presentations about Dr. King, they wrapped gifts and decorated cards for adults and seniors, who were the recipients of the food packages.
Weiner also stated “The event provided an incredible opportunity for the organizers such as Met Council, UJA, and Union Temple to come together to do well, and have a meaningful service experience.”
Rabbi Linda Goodman of Union Temple said, “Union Temple is delighted to do this Day of Service in partnership with Met Council, Repair the World, and UJA Federation.”She was very pleased that the children participating at the event were a diverse group. Rabbi Goodman added, “one of the reasons why they decided to do the MLK Day of service is that during the Obama administration, Michelle Obama suggested that one of the ways to honor Martin Luther King Jr. is by conducting a Day of Service. “In addition to ending segregation, Dr. King’s message is to lessen the gap between the haves and have not’s. As Jews, this is our mission as well.”
Mirm Kriegel, Executive Director Brand Strategy for USA at UJA Federation echoed the sentiment of Rabbi Goodman, “What better way to communicate service than MLK Day?” She said further that “The MLK Day of Service event this year at the Union Temple has lots of energy, and was very successful because there were more people who participated this year than last year. We help it keep growing,”
One of the facilitators of the event was Shaina Goldberg, the Director of Volunteer Services Department at Met Council. She was joined by colleagues and volunteers from the organization. An upbeat Ms. Goldberg expressed her satisfaction about the MLK Day of Service at Union Temple. “It was high energy. People came to work. People came here to do good. We made 250 packages of food, 200 bags of school supplies, and 250 winter accessories packages. It was a very productive, and rewarding day for all.”