ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Although Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day off for many, students across the region took it as a chance to help the community.
Several high schools and universities teamed up with Roanoke charities and nonprofits as part of the 25th annual MLK Day of Service.
Among them, Radford University, which spread roughly 450 staff, faculty, and student volunteers across nearly a dozen service sites in both Roanoke and the New River Valley.
Sites like Feeding America Southwest Virginia, where two shifts of volunteers combined to check and sort an estimated three tons of food.
“I feel like I’m very fortunate, especially since I’m going to college, and I want to give back to this new community that I’m a part of and everything surrounding it,” said Isabelle Mazariego.
She is on Radford’s club soccer team and was joined by several of her teammates, including the group’s captain, Desirae Booth.
“Honestly, with all of the volunteer activites that we do, most of our roster comes. So this is just another activity that they jumped at to get going in the community,” said Booth.
Radford classes do not start until Tuesday, which meant volunteers had to come back a day early from break, but both women said they wouldn’t miss it.
“Just get out and go into your community because it’s a good part of being a good person and seeing everything like this,” said Booth.
Drive across the city to the Roanoke Rescue Mission, and you’ll see much of the same; students from several area high schools packaging, sorting, and cleaning.
“That’s what is so important – here these students have the day off from school and they are spending their day here with us, giving back to the community, just as Martin Luther King, Jr. would have them do,” said Stacy Boris, the Roanoke Rescue Mission’s Special Project Coordinator.
She said volunteers are always needed at the Mission, so it’s heartwarming to see so many younger students pitching in.
“It just- gives us such a sense of accomplishment and appreciation,” said Boris.
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