Volunteers from throughout the region joined students, faculty and staff from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in more than 40 community projects during the college’s 10th Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
The service projects in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties included painting an auditorium at the Police Athletic League center in Atlantic City, collecting canned goods for food pantries at the college’s Woodbine instructional site, helping with cleanup from Superstorm Sandy in Tuckerton, cleaning up a Hammonton walking path and offering free help with technology at the Manahawkin instructional site.
“Education is not filling a bucket, it is lighting a fire,” said Stockton President Herman Saatkamp, quoting William Butler Yeats during opening ceremonies at the main Galloway campus. He challenged the volunteers to “keep [the fire] going and keep it growing.”
“Do not let the fire of education go out. Education is the one thing you cannot lose,” said President Saatkamp.
Projects on the main Galloway campus included a campus clean-up, a workshop to train emerging activists, packaging books to send overseas with the Books Without Borders organization and various artistic projects.
This year’s Day of Service also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the landmark “Brown vs. BOE” Supreme Court Case, which found that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional. Stockton’s Student Senate gave area Girl Scouts a tour of the campus, as a way to experience a day in the life of a college student and mark the educational milestone.
At the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage, the college’s Cape May County instructional
site, collection of non-perishable food items will continue through the end of January, said Jane Stark, museum executive director, who cited the “extreme need” for food donations in the area.
The foodstuffs collected Monday and throughout the month will go to the St. Casimir Church Food Pantry in Woodbine, the Woodbine Volunteer Fire Department and The S.O.A.R. Baptist Church Food Pantry of Woodbine, Stark said.
Non-perishable food items may be donated at the Azeez site at 610 Washington Ave., Woodbine from Monday to Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact Stark at 609-626-3831 or email: email@example.com.
Daniel Tomé, assistant director of Service-Learning, estimated that about 1,000 volunteers participated in the day’s events. The Day of Service is part of the nation’s commemoration of what would have been Dr. King’s 85th birthday.
“We are excited to work with the greater South Jersey community as Stockton College celebrates its 10th year of service and engagement in hosting this national service initiative,” he said.
Stockton’s Day of Service is sponsored by the Office of the President and the MLK Day of Service Planning Committee, co-chaired by Tomé and Brian Jackson, the president’s chief of staff.
In Atlantic City, students, faculty and staff were joined by volunteers from AtlantiCare’s Family Success Centers in painting the auditorium at the Police Athletic League center on New York Avenue. Members of the college community also worked with the AHEART donation organization, the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, Atlantic City Revive, the Eastern Service Workers Association and other organizations in the city.
Hammonton volunteers helped older adults create greeting cards at the Greenbrier Nursing Home, cleaned up the Hammonton walking path and helped he Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society with archiving.
In Manahawkin, volunteers made get-well cards and participated in a technology workshop to help others learn basic operations of electronic devices, such as tablets and laptops. They also organized mailers for the Lighthouse Film Festival, gave a workshop on emergency preparedness and basic first aid with the Stafford First Aid Squad and Stockton’s Dennis Lepore, and gathered stories from victims of Superstorm Sandy for an oral history archive.
— News release from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey