Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught that “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”
Thousands of HOPE worldwide volunteers in the U.S. have pledged to take a “Day On, Not a Day Off” on Monday, January 21 and this upcoming weekend to honor Dr. King with community service.
Volunteers have an opportunity to serve their neighbors and communities at more than 50 service sites with activities such as fire prevention outreach with the American Red Cross, school and neighborhood beautification, health and safety fairs, outreach to foster children and their families, and visits with the elderly.
One volunteer Miko Masterson in Montgomery County, Maryland, recently learned first hand that an unexpected fire can disrupt someone’s life. During a recent winter storm, a close family member was without electricity for more than a week and had to use candles for lighting. One of the candles caused a fire and created smoke damage to the home, turning walls gray and causing respiratory problems for the family member.
Miko expressed that smoke detectors are extremely important in fire safety, because smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death related to fires. “People don’t check the smoke detectors or change batteries,” she said, which could be devastating. HOPE worldwide volunteers in 10 pilot cities on MLK Jr. Day will help educate residents about fire safety prevention with informational door hangers and brochures to reduce the potential damage from fires. Before this incident, Miko said, fire prevention was not an important concern for her. This almost critical situation alerted Miko to the necessity of outreach as she reflected, “It happens to real people.”
In addition to fire prevention, volunteers in the District of Columbia will install weatherization kits for senior citizens in the Anacostia community in partnership with Service for Peace. Heating and energy costs remain among the highest expenses for senior citizens who live independently. Weatherization kits improve insulation and cut heating costs significantly.
These are just a few examples of the ways HOPE worldwide volunteers will touch lives over the next week. HOPE worldwide will partner nationally with organizations such as the Corporation of National & Community Service, American Red Cross, Shell Oil Company, Volunteer Centers National Network, and numerous congregations across the country as well as more than 40 local partnerships.