Today marks the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that commemorates King’s life and legacy.
In 1994, Congress declared the federal holiday a national day of service to pay tribute to the man who famously said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
In San Francisco, volunteers will gather throughout the city to help with gardening, tree-planting and litter cleanup activities, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Christine Falvey said.
Assemblyman Paul Fong and NBC Bay Area weathercaster Cristina Loren are working with volunteers in Santa Clara to clean up and restore the Ulistac Natural Area.
The city of Richmond is working with local organizations to host “Make It a Day ON in Richmond,” in which volunteers help cultivate urban farms and school gardens.
“Martin Luther King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in a statement.
Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians are taking part in their seventh annual day of volunteerism, spokeswoman Laura Dunn said. Rather than taking a day off for the holiday, employees take part in a “day on” of volunteering.
This year, they will be distributing hundreds of coats to those in need at City Team Ministries in Oakland, Dunn said.
Sonoma County is also embracing the idea of a “day on, not a day off,” County spokeswoman Donna LaGraffe said.
Sonoma County Regional Parks will host an event at Foothill Regional Park in Windsor where volunteers will help remove invasive plants that threaten the oak woodlands.
Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa is calling for residents to take part in the numerous volunteer opportunities in his city including food and coat drives, visiting senior citizens, habitat restoration, and pet adoption.
“There’s something for everyone,” Espinosa said.
Many organizations are hoping today will be a springboard for service throughout the year, said Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, a Richmond-based food and farming organization.
“By working together day in and day out…we can sow the seeds for a better, healthier, and stronger community,” Robinson said.