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Hudson Valley News

Regional United Way Expands Volunteer Events Around MLK Day Of Service


This year, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region is offering a broader array of volunteer services to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.

United Way’s actions are part of the MLK Day of Service, which encourages volunteer service to improve communities. This year marks the 25th celebration of the annual service event since Congress designated the Martin Luther King holiday the first ever National Day of Service. Spokesperson Emily Darrow says United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region was able to expand volunteer offerings this year thanks to a grant from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. 

“We started off very small with just one small project. And now, this year, we have almost 12 projects, actually over 12 projects going on through January 31,” Darrow says. “We’re honoring Dr. King this year by answering his question, life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ So what we are doing is offering all these avenues to volunteer to really make a different in people’s lives in our community.”

United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region has been leading teams from 10 organizations. Last week, volunteers from Mount Saint Mary College’s Career Center helped at a soup kitchen in the City of Poughkeepsie. And Nubian Directions members donated time to assist Hudson River Housing. And there have been other projects.

“So some of our young leaders have been writing letters to the troops, and they’ll be distributed through Towns 4 Troops. And we’ve also had some people from our Community Impact Committee do that,” Darrow says. “We would welcome other people participating because we’d like to do that for as many people as possible.”

The teams of volunteers have helped the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley; Boys & Girls Club of Poughkeepsie; Abilities First; and the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. Plus there are more volunteer opportunities this week and next..

“Our Dress for Success Dutchess County program, we have volunteers going in to help sort and prepare the donations for those clients who are there. Rebuilding Together will be having volunteers that will be going in and doing some updates for them,” says Darrow. “And at the Children’s Home we’ll also have another opportunity for people.

Volunteering for Dress for Success Dutchess County takes place Wednesday; Friday at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie; and January 28 for Rebuilding Together Dutchess County. 

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