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17th Annual M.L.K. DAY of Service in Syracuse filled with Goodwill Donations and Volunteers

John Smith/WAER News

The Southwest Community Center in Syracuse was filled with busy volunteers on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day sorting through piles of new or gently used clothing and food items.  The items get packed up and delivered to city residents in need.  To make sure they were enthused enough for the challenge ahead, they began with a pep talk and some appreciation from event organizers.

Syracuse University students Malik Evans and Cairo Spencer volunteered with a group of their fraternity brothers from Kappa Alpha Psi.  It’s their first experience for the M.L.K. Day of Service.

“Today I just hope to really give back to the community.  I’m a Senior at Syracuse.  All the times we hear about like how much ‘off the hill’ means to S.U.  So, for me, as a Syracuse student, I definitely wanted to take this year, cause I’ve been here for so long… to kind of understand more what the city has to offer.  Also, making sure I’m doing my due diligence as I can.” – Malik Evans

Credit John Smith/WAER News
(L-R) SU Students Cairo Spencer and Malik Evans.

You know, just getting a chance to put my foot in the door for community service.  Like I said, 16 days in (2017) and already making a change.  So, I just hope this is a starting trend that everyone else gets into it and we get something good going.” - Cairo Spencer

Spencer shared the messages of what Dr. King stood for and how they can still be applied in modern day society.
“Non-violence and fighting back but, in a proper way.”

Organizer Helen Hudson says they’ll expand distribution sites to handle the high amount of volunteers.
“So, we’re gonna try to do each quadrant of the city.  We’re going to work to do the North, South, East and West.  That way we can take our 400 volunteers and we can send 100 to each site.  I think that would be phenomenal.”

Sadly, Hudson says the amount of city residents in need has only increased over the years.  She wants residents to know there are opportunities to volunteer year-round and donations are always needed at the United Way.  Today marks the 17th annual M.L.K. Day of Service organized by the Greater Syracuse Labor Federation and the United Way

Credit John Smith/WAER News
(L) SU Alum Jake Tanksley


John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.