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Ways to commemorate and volunteer on MLK Day in Durham

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. The Chronicle has compiled a list of ways to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and participate in volunteering activities at Duke and in Durham this upcoming weekend.

MLK Commemoration at Duke Chapel

The Duke University Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration service will be held Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. at Duke Chapel. The 2022 MLK keynote address will be given by Keeanga-Yanahtta Taylor, assistant professor in the department of African-American Studies at Princeton University. The service is free and open to the public.

MLK Unity Walk

Sponsored by Duke Athletics and the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Committee, the Unity Walk will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture. The walk will be across campus and conclude in K-Ville. President Vincent Price, softball head coach Marissa Young and Duke student-athletes will take part in the walk. 

MLK Meal Packaging Event

Join the Triangle-area Rotary clubs and Duke MLK Commemoration Student Engagement Subcommittee to package over 100,000 meals that will be distributed across North Carolina food banks. The event will be held on campus on Jan. 17. Students can sign up for two different two-hour shifts: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 to 3 p.m.

Period Product Packaging

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Diaper Bank has seen an 800% increase in need for period products, as well as an increased need for other sanitary products. Students can volunteer Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to pick up period products from the Diaper Bank’s Durham warehouse to take home and package.

Bamboo Clearance at Reality Ministries

Looking to spend some time outdoors? Help clear wild bamboo and other weeds from the parking lot at Reality Ministries. From 9 to 11 a.m. on Jan. 17, volunteers can help clean the fenceline together and are encouraged to bring loppers, gloves and clothes that they do not mind getting dirty.

Jubilee Home Community Garden

Another similar way for students to get mud on their hands is by visiting the Jubilee Home Community Garden on Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jubilee Home is hosting a community workday where volunteers can help expand and clean up their community garden. 

Fresh Produce Program

Volunteers can support the Root Causes Fresh Produce Program by packing produce and loading bags at Farmer Foodshare’s warehouse on distribution days, calling and texting patients to confirm they want a fresh produce delivery or picking up food and support kits from Farmer Foodshare to deliver to homes. Shifts are available on various dates January through March.

More ways to get involved in local volunteer opportunities, such as book and supply drives, can be found here.

Alison Korn

Alison Korn is a Pratt junior and enterprise editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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