On Monday, January 16, Germantown Friends participated in the 17th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. More than 600 volunteers, including students, parents, staff, alumni, Meeting members, neighbors and friends, took part in a variety of activities, both on and off campus, followed by a celebratory luncheon, sponsored by the Multicultural Parents’ Alliance. This is the 17th-straight year that GFS has participated is this region-wide event.
The day kicked off with a keynote speech by Mirangela Buggs, director of multicultural affairs at GFS, after which participants broke out into 31 projects that included sewing fleece hats, scarves and mittens for Germantown residents; pie, cookie, cupcake, soup and bread making for Covenant House and the Holsey Temple food ministry; peace and Civil Rights-themed card-making for residents of area retirement homes; turning wooden bowls for the Northwest Interfaith Hospitality Network’s Empty Bowl Dinner; collecting, sorting and delivering men’s clothing to Holsey Temple CME church; and creating books-on-tape for the Philadelphia Reads Literacy Program. New this year was a teach-in and conversation on “Racial Justice Issues and Their Relevance Today.” All projects benefited the school’s immediate Germantown neighbors.
“Dr. King and Quakers worked together for many years,” says Kathy Paulmier, director of community involvement at GFS. “The non-violent approach to conflict resolution, speaking truth to power, and calling on the best in people to work for a more just and humane world are Friends’ tenets, too. It makes sense to coordinate and amplify the work we do the rest of the year on this day, in [Dr. King’s] name.
“To be an active and participatory neighbor in this urban neighborhood is a high priority for our school and my program,” Paulmier adds. “[MLK Day] gives us an opportunity to work in concert with neighbors and share resources and ideas, but equally, if not more important, it offers the opportunity to build a sense of community, a sense of connection between people.”