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MLK Day of Service helps thousands in metro Atlanta

Volunteers chose to give back to their communities, with one basket, one meal, and one smile at a time.

ATLANTA — Communities around metro Atlanta are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service and helping others in need.

Volunteers in DeKalb County marked the 37th annual King Day Celebration on Monday.  About 3,500 families were given fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken and COVID-19 care baskets.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said that ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience or where he stands at times of challenge or controversy.’ Let us be honored to stand in the moment of controversy,” said one volunteer during her fiery speech.

Over in Southwest Atlanta, volunteers worked to clean up the Oakland City Community.

“When you take care of your home, you want to take care of your community,” said Terra Washington with the Oakland City Community Organization. “It all really is a ripple effect."

And in East Point, long lines of cars sat bumper to bumper as southern meals of baked chicken, fried chicken, meatloaf, green beans and macaroni and cheese were passed out along with essential items and hope.

“Today, we will be providing food boxes, along with hot meals, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and gift cards to people in the community to serve,” East Point Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham said. 

“It’s not just about passing policy. It’s about really about being in the community and meeting the needs of the people in the community that might change and how to make sure we’re bridging those gaps," she added.

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While in Cobb County, the message was the same: service.

The Atlanta Braves Foundation teamed up with other non-profits to give away fresh food to families at KIPP Woodson Park Academy and the surrounding area.

“We were able to use our platform with the Atlanta Braves to, not only help KIPP Woodson, but to help those in need,” said Adrian Williams, the senior director of diversity and community marketing for the Atlanta Braves.

In the spirit of giving, the Braves, along with a handful of other organizations, also donated $25,000 to the King Center for its Camp Now Leadership Academy. That’s on top of the more than 2 million pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables and 1 million meals given to the Latino and African-American communities since June.