Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Central PA MLK Day group celebrates the day virtually, provides community resources

Volunteers with Wildheart Ministries collect trash in Allison Hill.

Typically Martin Luther King Jr. day is full of celebratory events, trash clean-ups and other projects around Harrisburg, but this year many were moved to a digital platform due to COVID.

One of the largest local organizations annually participating in the holiday is the Central Pennsylvania MLK Day of Service group, which has a full lineup of virtual events for Monday.

“The theme for this MLK Day, ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors,’ is a reflection of what we’ve witnessed,” board member Justin Fleming said during their opening ceremony. “In every neighborhood, we have watched as people have taken care of one another and looked out for others.”

Virtual events throughout the day will focus on health, food and housing concerns during the pandemic, Fleming said

In the morning, they hosted a Zoom discussion with PPL, UGI, Capital Region Water, Suez Water and PA American Water to talk about customer assistance and energy savings programs.

They also held an interactive online game for kids to participate in to learn more about civil rights.

The Central Pennsylvania MLK Day of Service group has online events through 4 p.m., including a discussion on the 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and how the neighborhood responded.

At noon, authors and poets will honor King through words.

In the afternoon, the organization will highlight resources for community members with housing, health and food needs. The Central PA Food Bank, Latino Hispanic Community Center, Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area and the Fair Housing Coalition are a few of the organizations that will be represented.

“Whether you need help or know someone who does, I hope you will be part of the conversation,” Fleming said.

The GIANT Company also announced on Monday that they are donating $10,000 to 10 local nonprofits including Wildheart Ministries, GLO Harrisburg, Shalom House, Capital Rebirth, Recycle Bicycle and others.

While most events were virtual, Wildheart Ministries in Allison Hill had volunteers collect trash and clean up the neighborhood.

“The challenge is always how do you remember somebody in a way that is truly honoring that person,” said Tannon Herman, director of Wildheart said. “I feel like specifically for Dr. King, the way to best honor him is by not just observing and remembering his life, but by participating in his prophetic vision of what he saw the future of our nation could look like.”

For more information or to join in on Monday’s events, visit http://www.centralpamlkday.org/.

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