Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 23, 2014

Hands On Thomas County honors King’s legacy

Susanne Reynolds

THOMASVILLE — Hands on Thomas County led three local organizations in volunteer service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. Thomasville residents were joined by hundreds of thousands of volunteers.

Hands on Thomas County (HOTC)’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day is based on a national day of service, which encourages citizens to “Make it a day on, not a day off.”

This opportunity is offered for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together to serve the community in honor of the legacy of King who dedicated his life to making the world a better place, and his belief that no on in the country should go hungry, homeless or lack proper education.

Angela Kiminas, HOTC executive director, said, “MLK Service Day unites people of all ages and backgrounds through service. Dr. King believed that every person could make a positive difference through positive action; and Hands On Thomas County holds this service day to show them that they can.”

Thomas County’s project sites focused on projects led by Keeping Thomas County Beautiful, Habitat for Humanity and Second Harvest of South Georgia.

Individual volunteers and the Thomasville High School Air Force JROTC helped at the Community Garden/Recycle Center alongside Keep Thomas County Beautiful. The students helped clean up the site, filled potholes that made it more accessible for the community, removed weeds and assisted in scattering compost for planting gardens during the spring.

Pam Lister of Keep Thomas County Beautiful said, “As a community garden, we want community involvement like these students were doing. It helps build the community up and teaches students the importance of having a community garden where we grow our own food. It helps to support the entire community.”

A group of about 18 students from Scholars Academy Rotary Interact Club volunteered Monday morning with Habitat for Humanity at a house located at 623 McKinley St. They helped with landscaping the property and cleaning for a family to prepare to move in to the house.

Ken Manwaring of Habitat for Humanity said, “It means everything to our organization for young people to come out and see what it’s like to give a hand up instead of a hand out.”

Second Harvest of South Georgia took on students with the Chamber’s Youth Leadership Group at 1100 Smith Ave. Together, the group helped sort, pack and distribute food items.

Meigs also took part in the Youth Service Day. The Virtuous Girls Group of Meigs held a literacy event from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at 3048 Vines St. Speakers and a story time for youth were featured.

After the morning events were complete, all volunteers who participated were invited to attend the Jack Hadley Black History Museum as an expression of gratitude and a way to serve and learn in King’s honor.

In 1983, after a long struggle, legislation was signed to create a federal holiday marking King’s birthday.

In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading the effort.

Taking place on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. It is a part of United We Serve, the president’s national call to service initiative. The day calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to the most pressing national problems.

HOTC has delcared this a week of “work hard, play hard,” and in celebration of the week, the annual Mardi Gras Party and Fundraiser will be held on at 7 p.m. Saturday at Pebble Hill Plantation.

Tickets cost $60 per person and sponsorships start at $250. All proceeds benefit HOTC volunteer and community service programs. For ticket information visit,

Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.