The Engage Jewish Service Corps helped to make the MLK Day of Service at Union Temple in Brooklyn a success. Engage volunteers worked alongside others from UJA-Federation of New York, Catholic Charities, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and Repair the World to mark the anniversary of MLK’s birthday as a day “on” rather than just a day off.
Over 200 volunteers joined in this interfaith, intergenerational effort, from teenagers to baby boomers. Energy soared with the mix of ages, races, and ethnicities, all united in a common purpose: to further the values of Martin Luther King Jr. and help create positive change in their community. In fact, the diversity of the volunteers only added to the sense of unity—as we all had the same goals and values—and had come to serve the same community.
After some introductory remarks on the day's mission and values, groups of volunteers worked on various "hands-on" projects. The projects were all interrelated with the aim of providing packages of food and educational materials on government benefits to be distributed to individuals and families who will participate in the upcoming “Know Your Rights” Entitlement Fair in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, organized by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
At various tables, people could be found happily sorting ingredients, chopping food, creating salads, assembling toys for kids, and packing food (which was generously donated by Goya Foods). Even the package tote bags themselves were made by volunteers using everyday tools such as: staples, duct tape, scissors, and a tape measure, underscoring the fact that even without any special expertise or expensive materials—just by using one’s own hands—one can produce something valuable and help a neighbor in need.