University students take advantage of Martin Luther King service week

Published 3:00 am Friday, January 23, 2015

Troy University Martin Luther King week of service saw a very satisfying turn-out on its second volunteer day, according to Jonathan Cellon, coordinator of learning initiatives.

In the past year, the university would organize MLK day of service, participating in the national event.

However, the project this year spreads out from Wednesday to Saturday, accommodating student volunteer’s schedule, Cellon said. This is to facilitate more students to be a part of the serving opportunities.

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“This is a great opportunity for students to reach out and see the need of our local community,” Cellon said. “It also helps students become more involved during the time they are here at Troy.”

This year MLK week of service involves 12 community organizations, including Christian Love Center, Noble Manor and Child Advocacy Center. Students will participate in 11 projects, helping to paint, clean volunteer offices and play games with senior citizens.

“The projects we are organizing are some what different but nothing too unusual for what we normally do,” Cellon said.

One of the new highlights in MLK week of service is the Campus Kitchen Project, which is designed to help fight hunger in the community. Students will collect excess food from the Trojan Dining Hall and repackage them to distribute to children living in poverty.

“The project is going really well,” Cellon said. “We have been exceeding the original goal of 60 meals a week. We are donating about 120 meals a week consistently, and last week we donated 150 meals.”

The food is delivered to the Head Start program and Christian Love Center every Friday.

“This is the first time I have participated in this project, but it feels really nice to know that I am helping somebody who are less fortunate,” said Elisha Jones, a volunteer student at Campus Kitchen.

Troy University Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement also held a volunteer fair yesterday to connect students and community organization.

“Students get to meet these organization face to face through this volunteer fair,” said Holly Elkins, volunteer coordinator. “You get more out of this than looking agencies up on Facebook or googling them or finding out information of a piece of paper.”

Kim May from Salvation Army said she appreciated the interest and service students offered.

“We (non-profit organizations) all struggle, and having volunteers really help,” May said. “Students are coming to work at the food bank, sorting, dating and reshelving our food. This gives the volunteers a serving opportunity of giving back to the community.”

According to Cellon, about 140 students are participating in this year MLK week of service. The organizers hope that this year event will start a tradition, continuing the multiple service days in the future.