Thursday, January 19, 2012

Livingston Kids Celebrate MLK Day Delighting In Service

Helping others comes naturally to kids in Livingston as they came out in droves to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Whether they were bringing in groceries to help stock local food banks, coloring pictures to decorate nursing homes, filling jars full of ingredients to make cookies, or decorating cans to be used as pencil cups, all echoed how much they wanted to help those in need.

“I think it’s a great way to remember Martin Luther King Jr. and what he showed us about the spirit of community,” said 13-year old Melissa Brown as she brought in several pairs of used eyeglasses which were amassed by the Livingston Lions’ Club. The teen had proactively collected the eyewear from among her grandparents’ friends who had mailed them from Florida.
Abigail Selikoff colored another picture which will be sent to the group Color A Smile ( for distribution to nursing homes and agreed with mom, Kelly, “this is a lot of fun and for a good cause.” Indeed, a few adults took the time to color pictures as well, sheepishly omitting their ages on the bottom of the pictures. “Hey, if it puts a smile on someone’s face, why not do it?” one of them said.

“There are so many people here. This is really awesome!” exclaimed Sasha Weber who enthusiastically dove into the activities. High school student Helen Odegoba patiently helped smaller children craft a “God’s Eyes” wall craft out of Popsicle sticks and yarn at a table sponsored by the Livingston High School’s chapter of the Spanish Honor Society. “I like helping children and doing this. You really get to know the people in your community,” she explained.

Members of Asian Indians in Livingston were out in full force as kids filled the group’s table to make crafts out of recycled materials. “I read somewhere that something like two million bottles that are recycled is equal to the space taken up by about 2,000 refrigerators,” an informed Austin Carloma told his mom, Maria.

The 15-year old from Verona came to Livingston for MLK Jr. Day because “this town has fun stuff to do today.” Jenna Foley agreed. As she transformed an old milk jug into a container for her bedroom, she was happy with today’s event. “It’s really good and fun to do this, especially the stuff for charity. And this stuff is a really entertaining way to spend the day, instead of staying home watching TV and playing video games.”

Robin Kim came for the fellowship. The 13-year old, who is home-schooled by her mother, was going to spend most of the afternoon in lessons but had permission to attend today’s event to be with other kids.“I love being home-schooled, but sometimes it does get a little lonely,” she admitted as she and a friend who is also home-schooled assembled toiletry kits for an immigration and refugee program and homeless shelter.

Justin Lawson munched on free pizza donated by Pizzeria Altavilla and couldn’t wait for the free concert by bands Chromatic Funk and Castles. After lunch, he said his next stop would be Temple B’nai Abraham’s table where he wanted to assemble the ingredients to make cookies.“What can I say? I’m motivated by food,” explained the growing teen.
“Everybody can do this,” exclaimed 8-year old Mindy Morris said as she colored a shopping bag which will be used to distribute food to the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW). “Everybody in town should be here.”

Today’s Day of Service was sponsored by the Livingston Committee for Diversity whose goal is to encourage the citizens of Livingston to recognize their commonalities and appreciate the potential strength of the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity that so richly enhances our great community.

For more information on this and other committee activities, contact co-chairman Keith Hines at (973) 393-0119.

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