Volunteers stepping up to serve on MLK holiday

Volunteers from left, Molly Wells, Peg Holland, Marcis Heckman, and Amy Jeffers sort food at Grounds for Thought, last January.


BG Independent News

Martin Luther King Jr, Day is a holiday for people to step up and serve their community.

Though the city’s King tribute scheduled Friday had to be canceled because of the winter storm, volunteers were out Saturday morning going door to door for the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive.

Now coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, the drive helps stock the shelves for a number of area food pantries. (See related story  http://bgindependentmedia.org/volunteers-needed-to-help-mlk-day-of-service-food-drive-extend-its-reach/)

Amy Jeffers, a Brown Bag board member, said as of the noon shift, 75 people had signed in. Groups of volunteers headed out into the northwest quadrant of the city to collect food stuffs. “We’ll move on from there,” Jeffers said.

Amy Jeffers, seated, welcomes back student volunteers returning from collecting ood. Volunteers are, from left, Alena Babyak, Heather Schaller (obscured), and Armani Borden.

The table in the middle of Grounds for Thought, headquarters for the food drive, was filling up with spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables and more. “It’s been nice and steady,” she said. “It’s really starting to grow. … They’re really filling the bags.”

The drive will extend throughout the city through Sunday. The cold weather is slowing progress some, but Jeffers said the amount collected is the same or more than last year.

Jeffers has worked every drive since it started in response to President Obama’s call for to service.

Anyone interested in donating can drop of food, hygiene products or monetary gifts at the shop at 174 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Volunteers will be out from noon to 5 pm. Sunday, but the tables will be set up in the morning for anyone who wants to drop something off.

The volunteers are both community members and students. “We get a lot of BGSU students” including a contingent from the women’s swim team

Molly Wells, a journalism major was on hand, helping to sort food as it came in. She heard about the drive through her sorority, Sigma Kappa. She also knew about the food drive through a fellow journalism student’s story.

“My family has always been very big into volunteering,” Wells said. “My dad volunteers at a soup kitchen downtown Toledo. … I’ve grown up with it. It’s part of my family values. … It’s not only good way to get out and experience new things, it’s a good thing to do. I don’t even think twice of it.”

She’ll be back Sunday to continue helping. She missed the signup for Monday’s campus Day of Service, but she’s hoping she can find a way to help. She’s participated in the Day of Service the past three years.

“This gives a new spin to what you can do with your time,” Wells said. “It carries a message of what you can do every weekend, every month.”

On Monday, more than 800 students will participate in Day of Service projects. Those projects will include building 15 little free libraries, cleaning and scrubbing rooms at the Ronald MacDonald House in Toledo, and working with the Red Cross to distribute fire alarms and fire safety information in Toledo.

In all they will engage in 39 projects in 11 cities. According to Paul Valdez, who coordinates the Day of Service, as associate director for the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement: “Since 2008, 4,900 volunteers have dedicated 19,600 hours of service, which translates to a $452,000 economic impact based on the Independent Sectors valuation of a volunteer hour ($23.07/hour).”