Millions of Americans get the day off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but thousands of people across the country spend the day volunteering as part of the Martin Luther King Day of Service. They volunteered in Bridgeport, too- about 500 of them, as part of several different community service groups coordinated by the University of Bridgeport.
Some painted walls at a homeless shelter. Others packaged food baskets for needy children. Justin Brantley coordinated about 15 volunteers from Bridgeport public schools.
"It's all about community service," he said. "All about coming together and helping each other out, serving the community. That's what his legacy reminds us of."
When the volunteers finish, they split into groups for moments of reflection to think about King’s life and message. University of Bridgeport student Elizabeth De Los Santos is with a group that normally helps raise money for third-world countries. Today they’re gathering food for needy kids in Bridgeport.
“It’s a very amazing feeling to give back to others, especially if we’re helping people that we’re associated and we see every day," De Los Santos said.
The Martin Luther King Day of Service started in 1994 as a bill co-authored by Georgia congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. Lewis is the last living speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.