Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day is the only federal holiday that calls for a “day ON, not OFF”. Businesses may close, but it’s considered a day of service. At the Greater Hollywood YMCA, more than 125 people came to donate their time.
This year there were no students playing basketball on the Hollywood YMCA’s courts. Instead, there on rows of long tables, kids and parents decorated blanket squares for kids in need.
Seventh-grader Sofia Janssens and her father were among them.
“As we were drawing the flowers, I had the idea to write different words on them,” she said. “So I wrote ‘love,’ and I told Papa to write ‘joy.’ ”
This YMCA picks a project to support on MLK Day ever year. This year’s activity benefits Project Linus, (like the Peanuts character who always carries that blue blanket).
The squares will be sewn together by coordinators, who will then deliver them to kids staying in Hollywood and other South Florida, hospitals.
But that wasn’t the only project that the volunteers tackled Monday.
The Greater Hollywood YMCA executive director is Matthew Libby. He said, there were enough volunteers to replant the preschool’s garden. It had been destroyed during Hurricane Irma.
“Fresh mulch, all new garden soil, some new plants, you see some aloe, lemon, mango and papaya tree…” he said. Now the pre-school will use the garden to learn about healthy eating.
Broward College students were the group who donated garden and Project Linus supplies for the school’s involvement in the national MLK Day of Service event.
Back on the basketball courts inside, Francine Williams turned in a stack of decorated blankets for Project Linus at the main table. She summed up what the day meant to her: an example of Dr. King’s dream for equality, realized.
“You see everybody, you see every ethnicity, working hand-in-hand, in harmony, to do a good project for children.”