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Residents Come Together for Annual SPF MLK Day of Service

The 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was successful once again in Scotch Plains and Fanwood.


Check out our SPF MLK DAY photo album and add your own photos or videos - Click here!

Although this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day was not a full day off, the half-day did not stop residents from coming out to volunteer once the kids were let out of school.

Online registration was lower this year, according to one of the coordinators, Michelle Shapiro, but she said she felt a lot of people were still coming and signing up for same-day registration.

Shapiro said last year somewhere around 600-700 people registered online for events, whereas this year it went down to 300-400.  She pointed out that having the half-day of school definitely contributed to the drop in numbers.

However, she was thankful school was held for a half day rather than a full day so that the Day of Service could still carry on.

“We are so grateful they did a half day,” Shapiro said. “The Board of Ed was so supportive and still kept it alive.”

She added that each year the MLK Day of Service has been a success in Scotch Plains and Fanwood and each year they gain even more support. This year they teamed up with about 35 organizations, she said.

“I think it’s very aligned with who this community is,” Shapiro stated.

She said that many people in Scotch Plains and Fanwood are willing to volunteer but often don’t know how to get involved or where to go and this day provides them with an easy opportunity to make a difference.

Shapiro was able to put together the MLK Day of Service with the help of co-chairs, Amanda Barnett and Courtney Agnello. She said that the Ministerium was also a great resource for the event.

Throughout the day many children wandered the halls of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA looking to help with a variety of activities ranging from making cards for the troops to a dance-a-thon.

Other volunteers worked away from the YMCA for different hands-on activities such as setting up soil and seeds at Parker Gardens or helping at a Habitat for Humanity House in Plainfield.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 40205 assisted in the Little Shoebox project, which creates shoeboxes filled with gifts for the less fortunate.

Claudia Sahaj of Troop 40205 said the SPF MLK Day of Service is a good way to help people, especially since Martin Luther King Jr. was dedicated to helping people.

“I really like doing this,” Sahaj said. “Sometimes I get upset about donating something but then I remember someone will love it more than I ever did.”

Sahaj donated clothing, beauty products and notepads and pens to the Little Shoebox project and also helped create a box for someone less fortunate.

Nina Halberstadter of Troop 40205 said that Martin Luther King Jr. made a huge impact and the least they can do is make some sort of impact.

“Even if you’re not a part of a specific group or activity you can always find a way to help,” she said. “You don’t have to be a part of a group to help.”

How did you help on the 2013 Scotch Plains-Fanwood MLK Day of Service? Share your experience below.

Also, check out our photo album of SPF MLK DAY and add your own photos or videos – Click here!

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