MLK Day of Service Draws Over 1,000 Volunteers

Despite the snowy and cold weather, over 1,000 people from Troy and the surrounding areas converged on Athens High School on last Monday, for the 2nd annual “MLK Day of Service,” hosted by the Troy School District, City of Troy, and the TSD Superintendent Student Advisory Board.

The day began early, with the 47 members of the SSAB (who came from all four Troy High Schools: Athens, IA East, Troy College and Career High School, and Troy High) helping to set up not one, but two gymnasiums with project tables.

A delicious breakfast of mini omelets, sausages and hash browns was then served to the students and the public by the Troy Schools Catering staff. Then, everyone began to filter in to the auditorium, before the MLK Day Welcome and Presentation kicked off by TSD Superintendent Dr. Rich Machesky and Troy City Manager Brian Kischnick.

Remarks about the meaning of the day were delivered by four Troy High School Students: Cameron Stokes, Ashten Stokes, Tre Harewood and Antoine Garrett, after which instructions were given for all of the volunteers. Colored stickers were distributed as people arrived representing the four project areas: assembling blessing bags for the homeless, writing cards of encouragement and putting together care packages for our overseas troops, and tying fleece blankets for the needy and those in hospitals. The Red Cross was also on hand for a blood drive.

Many people made the day a family affair and stayed for the duration of the event and, and parents were proud to help their children realize the importance of giving back.

Said mom Anna Marina, “This is the second time we’ve come to this event. I love the idea of a family day of service, and of parents leading by example to their kids.” Troy mom Martha Nelson helped pack up the care packages for the troops. She has two sons who graduated from Athens, who are currently serving in the military in Afghanistan and New York. “I know the soldiers will be excited to see all this stuff. It lets them know of all the people who are thinking about them.”

The day was kept lively with upbeat music from the Athens sound system, and so many people came to help that the auxiliary gym had to be utilized for the overflow of volunteers. At the end of the day, the proof was in the numbers:

• We packed more than 200 care packages for our troops overseas

• We made more than 300 blankets to help the needy

• We assembled more than 500 hygiene kits for homeless people on the streets of Detroit

• We saved OVER 200 lives with our blood donations to the Red Cross

• We collected hundreds of diapers, household items and food for two different family shelters

•There were also many monetary donations of funds to help mail the care packages to our troops

As the SSAB kids broke down the tables and cleaned up at the end of the celebration, Troy School District Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Kerry Birmingham summed the feeling of the day up well: “Whether you sent in donations and supplies or came today to learn about Martin Luther King, Jr. and participate in our service projects, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart–and a special thanks to the students who make up our Superintendent Student Advisory Board.” Dr. Machesky agreed: “It was a phenomenal event, and today will have positive ripple effects around the globe because of your generosity. You literally made the difference in thousands of lives today.”