GALLOWAY - The Campus Center at Stockton University was crowded with volunteers who accepted the university’s challenge to “Take the Day ON!” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The eagerness to serve spread from the main campus to four other Stockton locations where students and community members were engaged in a wide array of service projects.
Tasks were as easy as making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with members of the Circle K civic group to donate to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission to assembling 3-D printed prosthetic hands that will be distributed through the eNable program. Volunteers wrote letters to veterans, prepared seeds for the Stockton farm spring planting, participated in workshops and more.
Eric Wendt, 17, of Hammonton spent his morning assembling eNable prosthetic hands. “It’s cool that things that normally cost thousands to make can be made at a fraction of the cost with this technology,” said Wendt.
Volunteers gathered at 8 a.m. on Jan. 18 for breakfast and to sign up for their selected service projects that took place on campus and throughout the community. There were more than 40 projects or workshops hosted by or benefiting about 40 different community organizations. Satellite locations were set up at Kramer Hall in Hammonton, the Manahawkin Instructional Site, The Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage in Woodbine, and the Carnegie Center in Atlantic City.
Volunteers also completed projects at several sites including the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum in Tuckerton, New Day Family Success Center in Galloway and the Women’s Center of Atlantic County.
Selena Williams, 8, of Galloway, has been attending MLK Day of Service at Stockton for five years now. She says the Circle K activities are the most fun, and she really doesn’t mind getting up early on a day off from school to volunteer. “I really like to help people,” said Williams.
Circle K hosted a variety of simple hands-on projects. “Not only is it a good way to give back, but it’s not too burdensome. It’s fun, and it makes you want to do it again,” said Onestie Jackson of Asbury Park, a sophomore at Stockton University.
Participation at Kramer Hall in Hammonton expanded this year. About 50 volunteers gathered to make Valentines, create Day of Service paintings, assist in making cool ties for migrant workers and to participate in CPR/AED training.
“I volunteered last year, and I enjoyed it,” said Elizabeth Grey of Buena as she worked on a Valentine’s Day card that will be given to a local nursing home. “People really need to help each other. We need to love each other and support each other.”
The 2016 Stockton Community Engagement Awards were presented during the 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service opening ceremony at Campus Center. Awards were presented to Tahira Ayub (undergraduate student); Tori Heckendorn (graduate student); Graduate Physical Therapy Club (student organization); Dr. Mary Lou Galantino (faculty); and Steven Radwanski (staff).