Community celebrates MLK legacy by helping

Walking through the snow and slush Saturday morning, more than 50 community members walked from Flanigan Park to Lycoming College promoting peace during the annual the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Once at the college, they were joined by others for a total of about 160 individuals celebrating the day.

And as they heard once they reached their destination, each step in a journey is important.

“Every step that is made counts,” said Rev. Adam Kittrell, retired American Baptist minister and the day’s keynote speaker.

But Kittrell wasn’t only speaking of the day’s 1-mile trek through the inch of snow that hit the area Friday night. He was speaking about the journey toward peace.

“Neither you nor I started this journey and we aren’t going to finish it,” he said. “The only thing we can do is make our contribution.”

Those who weren’t deterred by the winter weather displayed their message by “peace chants” and waving the peace sign.

“Pass the peace, so that peace will increase,” the group yelled throughout the walk.

Once they arrived at Lycoming College, community and AmeriCorps members made 40,000 non-perishable food packs

for food pantries in Lycoming and Clinton counties.

The packs consisted of macaroni, beans and rice, and were given to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, which distributed them to the local pantries.

Daryl Kern, director of STEP Community Connect AmeriCorps, explained that each year the group looks to find a new way of serving others in the community. She said the day, which has been held locally for about seven years, is a way of acting upon King’s message of service.

“It’s what Martin Luther King stood for. He was all about service. (The day) is to honor the legacy of Dr. King,” she said.

Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio also said that the day wasn’t one to mourn but to act.

“(King) doesn’t want us to mourn his death but pursue his legacy by speaking and acting,” he said.

This is the second year that the event has been organized by the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Committee. The event took a year to plan, Kern said.

The Rev. Jeffrey LeCrone, Lycoming College campus minister, explained that the day shows the community’s “heart of service.”

And although, he said, he cannot fix all of the injustices in the world, he is able to help feed a hungry individual and was there to do so.

LeCrone added that the event is special because of the many different types of people coming together for one cause.

“We are all working together hand-in-hand from all walks of life,” he said.