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Hundreds of Volunteers Celebrate MLK Day of Service in Northern Berkshires

An annual day of service was held in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in North Adams. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spent time with volunteers in the community and filed a report…

The 20th Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service was celebrated by a small army of volunteers and community organizations that came together in North Adams. Alex Daugherty, chair of the Northern Berkshire’s Martin Luther King Day Committee, said that volunteers came from all corners of the community to celebrate “a day on, not a day off"


At one of the service project sites, Lois Daunis, who works with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, and also is a member of the MLK Day Committee, worked with volunteers to repaint the community space at the First Baptist Church in North Adams.

1st Berkshire District State Representative Gail Cariddi was among the several repainting the kitchen. Cariddi said that she’s been volunteering on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for over a decade, said that this day of services stood out in particular.

At Massachusetts’ College of Liberal Arts Church Street Center, the volunteers and members of the community gathered for a lunch provided in part by the Berkshire Food Project. Valerie Schwarz, manager of the Food Project, said that providing a meal for the volunteers fits in with the day and the group’s mission.

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright also stopped to show his appreciation for all the work being accomplished in the small city on the day of service.

MCLA President Mary Grant and State Senator Ben Downing also addressed the crowd of volunteers, performers included the Drury High School Jazz Band and group Otha Day, and a PEACEMAKER AWARD Presentation to Pastor David Anderson was also held.

The community also sang together “Lift Every Voice and Sing” – a song often referred to as the “black national anthem” - to celebrate the life of Dr. King and also the 2nd inauguration of the country’s first black president.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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