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A “Day On, Not a Day Off”

Peninsula Multifaith Coalition

Peninsula Multifaith Coalition

Every third Monday in January, thousands of people across the country honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a National Day of Service. Through service and small acts of kindness, individuals have a chance to be empowered, build bridges, and be active citizens in their communities. This year, the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition (PMC) in San Mateo County joined the effort and organized its second annual Multifaith Day of Service, dispersing over 300 volunteers of various backgrounds and faiths to lend a hand to schools, shelters, and community organizations. PMC is a volunteer-led group of 16 different faith congregations and organizations that work together on projects to improve the Bay Area Peninsula community. With support from the Foundation, the Shinnyo-en USA Head Temple located in the heart of the Peninsula has been a participating member of PMC for over a year.

The morning started with a hot breakfast at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, energizing volunteers for the work ahead. Projects included installing new carpet at the CALL Primrose food bank, preparing crafts, games and a meal for residents at an InnVision Shelter Network facility and singing for residents at the San Bruno Retirement Center. One of the biggest volunteer projects took place at Hoover Community School in Redwood City. Almost 100 volunteers came together to serve the more than 900 K-8 students and educators at Hoover, the Home of Hardworking Huskies. Hoover supports student success by focusing on the broad environment in which learning happens, and the school strives to involve student families in many aspects of a child’s education, creating a real sense of community at the school. Recently, custodial resources have been cut short and many classrooms are only cleaned once a week.

Ready to work!

Staff room getting cleaned by mom-and-son pair

Lunch with volunteers

web 2Over 20 Shinnyo-en volunteers joined forces with PMC to give teachers and students fresh classrooms to come back to over the long weekend. While carpets were being vacuumed, surfaces wiped, shelves organized and walls cleaned of scuff marks, Hoover families with young children were invited to the cafeteria for a craft project led by PMC volunteers and story time by bilingual librarian, Armando Ramirez from the Redwood City and Fair Oaks Libraries. After the work was done, classrooms had a new smell and shine to them and everyone, new friends and old, sat down for a meal together. In this way, the Multifaith MLK Jr. Day of Service was a way to transform Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and teachings into community action. The spirit of service, in the young and old, was sparked, nurtured or rekindled and participating side-by-side this diverse group of kind-hearted people reminds us that there are things we can all do to make our communities a better place to live in. Thank you to all the volunteers who made MLK Jr. Day a “day on, not a day off !”

For more pictures of the day, check out these taken by Richard Mayer.

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