Living the dream on MLK Day in Syracuse

Donations were dropped off and sorted at Syracuse's Southwest Community Center to give out to the area's needy on this Martin Luther King Day.

In Syracuse, the Martin Luther King holiday means a huge volunteer effort to take care of the community's needy. Today marked the 19th year for the Day of Service, outreach coordinated by the Greater Syracuse Labor Council and the United Way of Central New York.

All morning, area residents dropped off warm weather wear (coats, hats, gloves and shoes) and essentials like baby formula, diapers and non-perishaable food at Syracuse's Southwest Community Center, where dozens of volunteers sorted, and then boxed up the donated items to be delivered to shelters and centers that will distribute them to the community's needy.

"What better way to give back to the community than volunteering our time?" the Greater Syracuse Labor Council's AnnMarie Taliercio told us. "We're lucky enough to have off, so we have to give back"

Many of the volunteers brought in their children to help, and to learn how to pay it forward. "I do like helping out," 12 year old Jordyn Myers told us. "Getting to put smiles on people's faces. It's awesome," the Phoenix resident told us.. "It really shows that people are really willing to help and it is a good community out there," 17 year old Hannah Root, also from Phoenix noted. "Despite the snow, people came to bring in clothes."

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh was among those loading boxes today, as he has for several years. "As much as we are struggling with a lot of issues, Syracuse Third District Resident and volunteer Chol Majok told us, "we still have a lot of optimis and a lot of positivity."

The donations ended at noon, and then the volunteers finished boxing them up and shipping them out. "They go to womens and children's shelters and churches" United Way liaison Helen Hudson told us. In addition to the goods, volunteers made 400 sandwiches on Monday morning, with the fixings donated by Dunkin, Tops, Price Chopper and Thanos Imports.

The effort made an impression on an SU Student who also volunteered. "Martin Luther King was very big on unity" Melanie Johnson, who's from the Bronx, told us. It's very inspiring to see so many people from so many groups coming together to give back."

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