MLK Day of Service
Maple Point honors MLK with a Day of Service
Over 300 students spent part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on January 15 in the Maple Point cafeteria helping a volunteer group that is reaching out to the homeless and drug addicted of Bucks County and Philadelphia.
The students were packing Blessing Bags for the non-profit Philadelphia-based Angels in Motion outreach program. The bags are filled with a variety of snack items along with resource information for those facing life on the street. Volunteers from Angels in Motion distribute the bags throughout the year as a way to offer help, resources and compassion to those that may not feel valued in modern society. The group was started by a mother who delivered snacks to her drug-addicted son who was living on the streets of Philadelphia to maintain contact and draw him to the help he desperately needed.
The MLK Day of Service program was the brainchild of fifth-grade teacher Beth Hagedorn, who has volunteered with the group. Student Council advisor Neil French picked up the idea and organized his students to begin collecting donations for the effort in November. All the proceeds from a recent school dance were used to purchase much of the food and drink used to create over 1,000 Blessing Bags for the group. The Maple Point PTO provided assistance during the campaign and volunteers during the Day of Service.
The student volunteers worked in three different areas during the event. Many worked on assembling the Blessing BAgs by walking through long tables filled with pre-packaged snack items and drinks, gathering the items for each bag, then a group of student volunteers from Neshaminy High School sealed the bags and assembled them into larger bags for transportation to Angels in Motion.
A second project had students and PTO volunteers weaving unique blankets made out of hundreds of donated recycled plastic grocery bags. The bags were cut into strips, which were then spun and weaved into blankets that are distributed to the homeless living on the streets. The blankets are superior to cloth blankets for this purpose since they hold heat in the winter, but are cooler in the summer months. They are also easy to clean.
The final project had volunteers making and packing hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which were destined to be delivered to the homeless that evening or the next day.
According to Neil French, the purpose of the project was two-fold: To build awareness of the issues of homelessness and addiction not just in the city but also in Bucks County, and to make community service an integral part of education at Neshaminy in every grade throughout the year. By doing so the goal is that students will continue the committment to compasstion and community service throughout their lives.
Photo Gallery: MLK Day of Service