Volunteers take part in National Day of Service on MLK Day
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Community College and the Berkshire Chapter of the NAACP on Monday co-sponsored efforts for the National Day of Service in Pittsfield.
For many, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. means volunteering to help their communities.
The day of service began with Charles Redd, Berkshire Health Systems’ new diversity, equity and inclusion officer, reaching out to the volunteers.
what you need to know
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as National Day of Service Encourage people to volunteer
- This year, Berkshire Community College and the Berkshire Chapter of the NAACP held their Day of Service in person for the first time since 2020
- Volunteer service in Pittsfield has included painting with Habitat for Humanity, making maps for first responders, playing bingo with veterans, and participating in youth activities
- The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition also invited volunteers to the Northern Berkshire County Day of Service
Redd is the first to hold the position and said he is working with local organizations to learn more about the county’s needs.
“My main message was to talk about all the great things that are happening in the county, all the great groups that are serving a lot of our most vulnerable in the county,” Redd said. “And also a message to say to the people out there, help make a difference. We must carry on beyond this day and do more every day.”
Speaking of King’s message as a call to action, Redd said that celebrating his birthday gives people a chance to reflect on how they want to help their community in the new year.
“Really, this celebration of Dr. King is really a great way to refocus and restart your engines,” Redd said. “The years are getting long, we put in a lot of hard work, some days are better than others. And it really is a great realignment and realignment every year, about Dr. King and his message and how we can move forward.”
Volunteers worked at various service locations. Spectrum News 1 spoke to the group that helped Habitat for Humanity paint a new home in Pittsfield. Some, like Susan Smith, said the Day of Service brings people closer together.
“I wanted to come out for Martin Luther King Day because I do it every year,” Smith said.
Savannah Stanley is new to the area and said she also looks forward to the opportunity to volunteer.
“I work for Berkshire Community College in the Financial Aid department and they announced this day of service and I think serving your community is really important so I was really excited to be a part of it.” said Stanley. “And since I’m new, I’m really motivated to do whatever it takes to make my community the best it can be.”
While volunteers can take pride in painting what will soon be the home of a local family, Redd said reflecting on how we can make an impact on others is what the Day of Service requires.
“Rather than looking at ourselves as individuals, our role is really to help and support those who need it,” Redd said. “To reach out our hand and … take these people and help them in their time of need is really what his message was about.”