Friday, July 12, 2024

The Many Helping Hands MLK Day of Service brings in thousands of people for volunteer projects.

The Many Helping Hands MLK Day of Service returns Monday seeking three hours of volunteers’ time – a way of responding to a saying of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at the 2016 Many Helping Hands MLK Day of Service.

This year’s event, the seventh annual, takes place from 2 to 5 p.m., starting with a 15-minute welcome gathering on the steps of City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, with comments from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the Rev. Lorraine A. Thornhill and Democratic U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, and music from the choir of St. Paul AME Church, said Lori Lander, the event’s chief organizer and founder of the Many Helping Hands 365 nonprofit.

The rest of the time will split volunteers among seven projects taking place at five locations, including on all four floors of City Hall; at the Citywide Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave.; YWCA, 7 Temple St.; The Possible Project entrepreneurship program, 17 Sellers St.; and in the undercroft of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, 838 Massachusetts Ave. – adding a location from last year, when more than 2,600 volunteers took part, said Elizabeth Bartle, of Many Helping Hands. The volunteers ranged in age from 2 to 92 years old.

Participants are asked to come empty with nonperishable food, gently used winter clothing or a children’s book to donate. All ages are welcome, though children should be accompanied by adults. Registration is here.

After a welcome that included comments by Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and a hip-hop performance, volunteers last year made 3,424 Valentines Day cards; 1,453 bookmarks for literacy programs; 1,326 activity kits to help children pass the time when waiting for family members visiting emergency rooms; and 467 fleece scarves and blankets for homeless children, teens and adults, said the nonprofit’s Lisa Eustis. In addition, they put together 1,463 bags of donated travel toiletries, collected and sorted 382 bags of food; and organized 59 bags of winter clothing and 56 bags of children’s books. Afterward, deliveries were made to 10,000 people.