NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The nation celebrated the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today.

The civil rights leader and champion of equality would have turned 91 last week, reports CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

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A wreath-laying ceremony was held at Dr. King’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. Back in New York, groups and organizations across the Tri-State Area took in events that celebrate his legacy through service.

“Whether it’s volunteering or donating, we all have an opportunity to serve,” said Sultana Ocasio of the Community Kitchen and Food Kitchen in West Harlem. “Even if it’s a small opportunity, it’s something every person can do.”

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The food bank lives out Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mission of advocating for those who are less fortunate. That work is far from over.

Volunteers of all ages gathered at the Food Bank of New York City to pack 1,500 pasta meals for residents in Harlem and the South Bronx.

“It doesn’t have to be big, like those small things are great too, and I think that’s what he’s all about,” said Naomi Davis of the Upper West Side.

Volunteer Rian Reynolds, 7, understands the importance of the event.

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“To make sure everyone has the help they need,” Rian said.

It was all done in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy that shined a light on fighting for underserved and often overlooked communities.

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“Whether it’s volunteering or donating, we all have and opportunity to serve, even if it’s a small opportunity. It’s something every person can do,” said Ocasio.

One in five New Yorkers relies on emergency food programs. Hot meals are even more of a precious commodity. It’s one of many needs the Food Bank tries to fill at locations across the city almost every day.

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Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined elected leaders at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the National Action Network for tributes that also highlighted Dr. King’s activism and how it still resonates today.

“A country where wealth flows to the very top and we struggle to stay in the middle class or get to the middle class,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.

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Sharpton’s rallying cry of “No justice, no peace,” was a reminder that Dr. King’s legacy was built on non-violent resistance.

“You cannot be for Dr. King and not be for everybody, civil rights for everybody,” said Sharpton.

On this day and beyond, there’s so much more work that needs to be done.

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The work continues at the Food Bank, where they serve 500 meals a day and help 3,000 families with groceries every month.