For anyone who is off work Jan. 19 — the federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday — the only question is which service project to pick.
Flossmoor is offering several options for its first-ever MLK Day of Service, a chance for residents to spend an hour pitching in to help their south suburban neighbors, and to find out who else is volunteering.
“Life’s most persistent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?'” said Mary Muse, the head of Flossmoor’s Community Relations Commission, which is spearheading the Day of Service. “Dr. King said, ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’ It is from his inspirational messages that the Community Relations Committee is inspired to act.”
According to the Day of Service schedule:
About 25 persons are expected to volunteer at the Jones Center in Chicago Heights between 9 and 11 a.m. Maggie Bachus is leading this project. Her volunteers include members of a Girl Scout troop, a fifth grade book club from a Matteson school, Infant Jesus of Prague School volleyball players and several Flossmoor families. The volunteer roster for this project is full.
More than 100 volunteers are expected to participate in the village hall service project from noon to 3 p.m. Homewood-Flossmoor High School junior Hannah Levy is leading this project. A Respond Now representative will be on site to collect donations and share information on the organization’s services, including Affordable Care Act guidance. Volunteers will also make Valentine’s Day cards for seniors through the Kids Who Care organization.
More than 50 persons will helping the area’s homeless during the Flossmoor Community Church PADS project from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Margaret Epperson is leading this project and has set up shifts throughout the day. Besides breakfast and lunch, activities include a PADS store, visits from local professionals and a H-F Higih School theater production.
“My main goal is for the men to leave that day feeling more loved than they did when they arrived the night before,” Epperson said, adding that she has been meeting with PADS clients for the last few months to determine what they’d like on the Day of Service.
“They are a part of our community,” Epperson said. “Though they quietly converge into our neighborhoods under the cover of night, their voices matter and in connecting with them you learn that we are more alike than different.”
An ongoing donation drive is going on at Village Hall through 3 p.m. Respond Now’s truck will be on site to pick up all donations. Muse said the commission’s current “biggest push” is for non-perishable food to fill up Respond Now’s truck.
Flossmoor School District 161 is participating in the Day of Service food drive at all five schools, as well as the district office. Amy Warke, District 161’s assistant superintendent of learning and Instruction, has been very supportive of the food drive, said Community Relations Commission member Laura Brennan-Levy, who is helping coordinate Day of Service events. District 161 officials held a Thursday lunch to encourage a successful food collection in advance of Friday’s pick-up, Brennan-Levy said.
Persons interested in participating in the MLK Day of Service can still sign up at the village’s website.