Letter: Coastsiders serve seniors to honor Martin Luther King
The laughter of children mingled with music and lawnmowers as volunteers gathered at Bloom Lane to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Responding to Barack Obama’s call for a day dedicated to public service, Coastsiders ranging from the age of from 3 to 68 spent today helping low income seniors at Bloom Lane by weeding gardens, cleaning kitchens and hauling debris to the dump. Add to that a healthy dose of rare sunshine, and the result was a community event that was as much social as service.
In 1994 Congress designated the King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day off from work or school, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action.
This year, president-elect Barack Obama asked Americans to celebrate is inauguration with a day of service in honor of Dr. King.
The Coastside Democrats and the Community United Methodist Church contributed to a day of service the Bloom Lane senior housing project. Over 40 volunteers—even a few from over the hill—spent hours on projects ranging from pulling weeds to pruning a 30-foot tree that was in danger of falling. And, yes, we even did windows!
Three year old Noah Goldman, sister Isabella and parents Jared and Lori helped in the gardens. Lori was grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a project that allowed the family to work together. "I’m excited to have the chance to show the kids while they are still young, the value of giving back." Noah, pulling weeds from a decorative walkway exclaimed, "Yeah!".
Lauri Shanahan with daughters Casey (12), Renee (10) and Riley (10) spent the day cleaning and reorganizing a senior’s kitchen. Casey wrote on her comment card, "I had a blast cleaning and meeting all the people!" and her Mom shared, "We very much enjoyed spending time with Norm. The girls worked so hard that it was inspiring! "
As you can see, the event not only helped our seniors, but many volunteers shared that they got more out of the event than they gave. Suzanne Mankoff, who brought daughters Laurie (11) and Jill (10) said, " Volunteering at the Senior Facility, enjoying conversations with the women we helped, and seeing the hard work of all the volunteers, gives me hope that our country really is a big community. We are in this world together and it is truly inspiring to have participated in this day of service with such wonderful people. " Daughter Laurie added, "We loved working with the seniors today and felt like we helped out. The lady we helped, Carol, wanted to buy us ice cream, and even though we couldn’t take it, we felt like she really appreciated what we did. We would love to do this again."
It was great to see people put aside their problems, political differences, and even their own needs to focus on making our community a better place. Because of their efforts, our seniors will go to bed tonight with tidy gardens, clean apartments, but most of all with full hearts, knowing that someone cares.
If you are interested in volunteering in future events, email your contact information to [email protected].