Volunteers tie blankets for patients at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, in the Athens High School gym during the MLK Day of Service held last year.

Volunteers tie blankets for patients at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, in the Athens High School gym during the MLK Day of Service held last year.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

MLK Day celebration to focus on service to others 

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 9, 2018


TROY — For the second year, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Troy will depart from the previous speaker format and will instead be a call to service, which is King’s true legacy, say school and city officials.

Kerry Birmingham, director of community and strategic initiatives for the Troy School District, said the response to the new format was “overwhelmingly positive. People loved it and loved being a part of the active service projects in (King’s) name.” 

“It’s a fabulous way to bring the community together and do positive things for the community and beyond,” said Troy Community Affairs Director Cindy Stewart. “It means so much to the recipients. It should be about paying it forward.”

The Troy School District and the city of Troy will hold the MLK Day of Service 8:30-11:30 a.m. Jan. 15 in the auditorium of Athens High School, 4333 John R Road. 

The service activities include: 

• Assembling care packages and writing cards for Troy and Michigan-based members of the military now serving overseas. 

• Packing warmth and hygiene kits for those who are homeless, and women and children in local shelters. 

• Making no-sew fleece blankets for children, veterans and cancer patients at local hospitals. 

• Donating blood at an American Red Cross blood drive.

Donations of materials are needed in advance of the event, including fleece in 2.5-yard pieces;  5 or 10 yards of the material would work well. Each blanket consists of two pieces of fleece, usually one solid and one printed, but all donations of the appropriate size are welcome. 

Program organizers also will accept donations of children’s gloves, winter hats, diapers and feminine care products for those living in a shelter serving women and children. 

These items are needed to distribute to the homeless: 

• Winter gloves.

• Warm socks for men and women.

• Chapstick.

• Anti-bacterial wipes.

• Toothbrushes/toothpaste.

• Deodorant.

• Mints/gum.

• Individual packages of snacks or those that can be separated: cheese and crackers, fruit roll-ups, mini Oreos, pudding cups, Rice Krispie treats and breakfast bars.

Organizers are looking for donations of the following items for the troops:

• White or black socks suitable for combat boots.

• Foot powder.

• Candy and gum.

• Beef jerky.

• Sunflower seeds or nuts.

• Wet wipes.

• Energy bars and granola bars.

• Coffee and tea.

• Sunblock.

• Lip balm.

• Small Michigan- or Detroit-based sports items, like Nerf balls, pennants, T-shirts and bandanas.

Aerosol products, shaving cream, hair spray and products containing alcohol, like mouthwash and hand sanitizer, cannot be accepted. 

Items can be dropped off until Jan. 12 in the Community Affairs Office at Troy City Hall, 500 W. Big Beaver Road, during business hours and at any school in the Troy School District or at the Troy School District Administration Building, 4400 Livernois Road.