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NEWAYGO COUNTY, MI – Passed in 1994, the King Holiday and Service Act designated MLK Jr. Day 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. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action. On Monday, January 18, as part of the National King Day of Service, community members and the staff of TrueNorth Community Services did just that.

There was a free public showing of the motion picture; “Selma” at the Fremont Cinemas, followed by a moderated discussion about the movie, the civil rights movement, and the state of race relations today. For the remainder of the day, the staff of TrueNorth spread out to14 locations in 2 counties to complete a variety of public service volunteer projects. Community volunteers also took part in 3 different volunteer projects at TrueNorth. They put together 100 ‘birthday bags’ containing all the ingredients for a birthday cake, including the cake tin and candles, to be distributed through the TrueNorth Food Pantry; they constructed 7 pillow beds, which can be used for lounging, or as emergency bedding for children; and they created 72 batches of homemade laundry soap that will be distributed in the Food Pantry. In all, 35 adults and 50 youth volunteered a total of 170 hours.    

“I’m new here at TrueNorth, but I was really excited to see this organization and the community take MLK Jr. Day so seriously,” said TrueNorth Volunteer Services and Special Projects Coordinator, Phil Gabel. This event was co-sponsored by TrueNorth and Newaygo County People for Peace (NCPFP), a local organization dedicated to seeking peaceful, nonviolent resolutions of conflicts within individuals, communities, and between nations. Funding for the event was provided by the Fremont Area Community Foundation and via a mini-grant from the Michigan Community Services Commission.   


Community volunteers and staff from TrueNorth decorate ‘Birthday Bags’ (foreground) and make homemade laundry soap (background) at MLK Jr. Day on Jan. 18 

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