NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, community service projects are going on throughout New York and across the country.
Volunteers gathered Monday at Sheepshead Bay High, hoping their day or service will help a community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
“The students and the teachers that go to school here and work here live in the communities that were the most affected,” said Executive Director of City Year New York Erica Hamilton.
About 600 volunteers gave up their day as part of a national effort to honor the life and legacy or Martin Luther King by improving communities.
“It’s people who are volunteering, who are taking time out of their day to do a good thing,” said volunteer Ali Hirshhos.
In Red Hook, a similar scene as volunteers scraped paint off a basement flooded by Sandy. By day’s end, it will all be repainted.
“We’re always just impressed by New Yorkers that step up and the work that they’ll do, they’ll do whatever it takes and I think that what makes our city great,” Diane Billings-Burford, chief service officer of NYC Service told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, volunteers with the NYC Coalition Against Hunger spent their day reaching out to shoppers about food stamps.
Myya Daigle had a busy Monday. The bundled-up Hoboken resident who works at Warner Bros. Records was reaching out to residents about SNAP – the government food stamp program – at the C-Town store in Brooklyn.
“I’m very fortunate in what I have and I just want other people to feel the same the way and to have food and to not have to stress about that,” she told WCBS 880 reporter Monica Miller.
Valerie Boucard from New York City Coalition Against Hunger said the volunteers who come out on days like this have a lasting impact.
“If we can increase the number of people that are pre-screened and that we can help apply for food stamps, then, you know,
obviously that makes a very long-term impact on that family,” she said.
In New Jersey, about two dozen volunteers helped paint the Big Brothers and Big Sisters offices in Newark.
“I did half of a wall and then I helped out with other walls too,” said 10-year-old volunteer Taj.
Congress designated the Martin Luther King holiday as a day of service in 1994.
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