Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Today is Martin Luther King Day. It is a day set aside each year to honor Dr. King and his legacy. Service was just one aspect of Dr. King’s efforts to create a better, more equal society. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” (MLKDay.gov). This lead to Martin Luther King Day being designated as a national Day of Service. Starting in 1994, Martin Luther King Day became the MLK Day of Service, a day on which Americans are called upon to serve their communities. 

It is for Dr. King’s commitment to equality and benevolence that each year thousands of Americas across the country use today as a day to help one another. This year, AmeriCorps VISTA members Alan Druga and Sarah Caldwell organized Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry’s third MLK Day of Service Donation Drive. On Saturday, January 14th, two dozen student volunteers from Northwestern University and two Bonaventure House residents braved the cold to solicit donations from customers at five Chicago Walgreens stores. In Waukegan, two Harbor residents asked for donations outside a local Walgreens store.

Volunteers outside a Walgreens store brave Saturday's cold temperatures.

The donation drives in Chicago and Waukegan raised over $1000 worth of toiletries for the residents of Bonaventure House and The Harbor. Staff at these facilities try to keep a stock of necessary toiletries for the residents, many of whom have little or no income. The goal is to provide residents with all that comes with a home, not just four walls and a ceiling.

MLK Day of Service by the numbers:

28 volunteers (22 Northwestern University students, 2 Bonaventure House residents, 2 The Harbor residents, and 2 AmeriCorps VISTA members)

6 Walgreens stores

Just some of what was donated…

204 rolls of toilet paper

47 razors

40 toothbrushes

46 tubes of toothpaste

27 bottles of shampoo/conditioner

13 packages of floss

20 boxes of tampons/pads

Altogether, our MLK Day of Service volunteers raised over $1000 worth of toiletries on Saturday – our biggest year yet!

Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry would like to thank Walgreens for allowing us to hold the donation drive at their stores, Northwestern University Norris Center for Student Involvement, which sent us two dozen volunteers, and the four residents who volunteered to help with the donation drive.

If you are interested in becoming involved with Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry, please visit www.bonaventurehouse.org/getinvolved or email info@abam.org. Or, to donate directly, visit www.bonaventurehouse.org/donate.

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