Troops of eager volunteers fanned out across Wilmington’s Hedgeville and Riverside communities this chilly morning in a collective effort to beautify neighborhoods and honor the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On this national holiday, there was no shortage of opportunities like this one across the state to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through a day of service.
For two hours, 250 teens and adults hit the streets earlier today, armed with brooms, trash bags and gloves and picked up thousands of bits of curbside debris in blocks surrounding St. Hedwig’s Church and Parkway Elementary in Hedgeville. A similar effort in Wilmington’s Riverside community drew 400 volunteers.
Just one hour into Hedgeville’s massive street cleaning effort, volunteers from Sanford School, ChristianaCare and University of Delaware as well as a number of state and local officials, had already collected 35 large bags of trash.
“I think it’s absolutely awesome how we come together as a group today to get things done and just to brighten up this community. We’re hoping that it makes people feel a little better when they see their neighborhood a little cleaner,” said Christiana Hospital employee Sharon Scotton.
Sanford freshman Island Lewis sprained her ankle on Saturday at a volleyball tournament and is now in a stabilizing boot, which makes it tough to get around. But there she was today on South Harrison Street with her friend Zoe Kashner bending down to collect trash. “I really wanted to come, and I didn’t want to miss out on the day. I like helping others – that’s like a hobby of mine. And doing service with my friends makes it more fun,” she said.
Several teens could be seen preparing 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless while others prepared Valentine’s Day cards for soldiers overseas and residents of the Hillside Nursing Home. The day included mural painting with teens at The Warehouse, a visit from Wilmington Mayor Mike Purczyki and a March for Unity through the City of Wilmington.
“Dr. King dedicated his life to service and the pursuit of equality. We want to live to achieve his purpose. So, this day of giving back and bringing people together is extremely important to us,” said Charlotte Miller-Lacy, founder and national executive director of I Am My Sister’s Keeper.
Now in its fourth year, I am My Sister’s Keeper is a mentoring group for young girls ages 12 to 18. “We originated right here in Delaware. But we have already expanded now to Chester, Pennsylvania to Maryland, Georgia and Texas,” said Miller-Lacy.