A standing-room only crowd gathered at St. John's Episcopal Church in North Adams on Monday, January 18, 2010 to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This annual event featured a day of service for more than 200 community members. People came together to offer their time, donate canned goods and other non-perishable food items, and to participate in a number of local service projects. This MLK Day was a true "day on" for camaraderie and volunteerism, rather than the traditional "day off" from work.
The MCLA men's basketball team split up; several teammates went door to door in various neighborhoods collecting non-perishable items and bottles and cans to support the Haiti Relief Project. The other players stood in front of Stop & Shop handing out a needs list so shoppers could buy items for the clients that use the North County Elizabeth Freeman Center, a counseling center for women and families that have experienced domestic violence. The team filled two carts of supplies for these families in transition. At the Salvation Army, the resident volunteers and the MCLA women's basketball team assisted with organizing the food pantry there. Many volunteers were of great assistance to the Louison House, a homeless shelter in Adams, where they helped to paint rooms, organize and preserve donations so they can be useful in the future. Other projects included raising awareness about the federal census, making mittens to be donated to families in need, a clothing drive and a community discussion about joining efforts to coordinate Haiti Relief support in the Northern Berkshires.
This annual celebration, newly designed this year with an emphasis on service and engagement, is organized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.
The theme of the day was one of perseverance and continued effort for loving, fair community. Before the day's awards were presented, MCLA president Mary Grant concluded the program by returning us all to the words and philosophy of Dr. King himself, both to remind us why we served and how we can continue to bring change.