5th National Day of Service to honor MLK legacy

Stephanie Steinberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – While District officials are busy planning security and transportation for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to flood the capitol next weekend, volunteer groups are prepping their food pantries, garden sheds and book shelves.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is working with service organizations in D.C. and across the country to coordinate volunteer projects for the 4th annual National Day of Service, which falls during Martin Luther King Day weekend.

Marlon Marshall, a senior adviser of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, says the event couldn’t be better timed.

“Community service and MLK go hand in hand,” he says. “To have it be during this weekend, I think just right there is a powerful message.”

The National Day of Service started during President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 and has occurred every year since. There will be dozens of service projects throughout the D.C. region over the course of the weekend, and the main event will be held Saturday on the National Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Marshall says there will be a service fair, in which at least 99 organizations will have booths set up on the National Mall. Passersby can walk around to get information and also participate in seven mini-service projects. The projects will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and range in topics including health, education and the environment.

New this year, participants will be asked to sign a pledge stating the number of service hours they intend to complete throughout the year. The goal is to use the event as a spring board for people to continue volunteering, Marshall says.

“We don’t want to use this day and just say,