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Crispus Attucks to host 39th annual MLK Day program virtually

Harper Ho
York Dispatch
Breakfast was served during the 38th Annual MLK Day of Service event at the Crispus Attucks gymnasium Monday, January 20, 2020. Volunteers staffed about a dozen city locations after the breakfast. Bill Kalina photo

The Crispus Attucks Association honors Martin Luther King Jr. every year with a day of service in York City filled with projects and programming that highlight the life of King.

The event normally begins with a free community breakfast at the association before a day's worth of activities from live music to guest speakers to service projects, where everyone can get together to meet and mingle.

But for the first time in 39 years, all that is happening virtually because of the pandemic.

"We would like for it to happen in person. Unfortunately, we can't this year for safety reasons," said CEO Jacquie Martino-Miller. "But I think that they're really going to enjoy the virtual live tours."

Crispus Attucks will host its 39th Annual MLK Day of Service via Zoom at 10 a.m. Monday. The community is invited to join online by going to https://zoom.us/join and using the ID 478 270 9729 with password V09QUK.

A centerpiece at the 38th Annual MLK Day of Service event at the Crispus Attucks gymnasium Monday, January 20, 2020. Volunteers staffed about a dozen city locations after the breakfast that was served at the event. Bill Kalina photo

The event will feature live tours of Martin Luther King Jr. historical sites and York City's William C. Goodridge Center and Underground Railroad Museum. 

"The pandemic caused us to be (virtual), but we have to think outside of the box with this pandemic. But people are still getting served in the community," Martino-Miller said.

Organizers will provide free “Grab and Go” breakfasts and lunches for people to take home this year. The meals will be available for pickup from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Monday at the association, 605 S. Duke St., and books will be distributed by Women United.

"What I feel good about is the education part of it because that's important for people to know — to be educated about MLK and the history and also some of the history in Pennsylvania and in York," Martino-Miller said. 

The association usually teams up with a variety of local organizations to help host some community service projects, but that didn't happen this year.

Ellen Surcek of Lancaster and cleans shelving in the children's library at Martin Library during an MLK Day of Service volunteer effort Monday, January 20, 2020. She works for the nonprofit Community First Fund. Volunteers staffed about a dozen city locations after attending the 38th Annual MLK Day of Service breakfast at the Crispus Attucks gymnasium. Bill Kalina photo

"We didn't really call anybody to do that this year in that way just because it was virtual and we knew that we wouldn't have a lot of people in the building," Martino-Miller said. "We made it small for safety reasons."

Founded in 1931, Crispus Attucks of York is a nonprofit that provides philanthropic services such as education and affordable housing to enhance the quality of life for a diverse population.

"It's always good gathering for people to be able to see people they haven't seen for a while, so it's a good social gathering," Martino-Miller said. "Unfortunately we're not able to do it this year, but we're hoping that we will be able to get back to doing it the traditional way in 2022."