Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent activism. King’s life was based upon a strong Christian ideology, ‘Put others before yourself’. During one of his speeches, he mentioned life’s most persistent and urgent question, “What have you done for others.”
The Presbyterian Church of Hightstown, NJ has been coordinating with RISE in ‘Put Poverty to Bed’ drive since past many years to honor Martin Luther King’s call- Action for Community’. Each year on Martin Luther King Day, the church members unitedly start collecting/sorting/packaging night-care items for children of age 0-18, which would include things like new pajamas, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, stuffed toys, bedtime story books, etc. from the community, friends and families. RISE is an American nonprofit group working for civil rights. In the Hightstown Borough-East Windsor Township community, RISE has been offering social support services to those who need it since many years. Tuttle Dental Care, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and the Morgan Lewis law firm are regular donors of things like, dental-care products, story books and complete nightmare packages.
This year, Vibha volunteers also joined hands with the Presbyterian Church in accomplishing RISE’s mission to help those in need. This year, when Hamidah Thanawala, a committed volunteer at Vibha’s NJ Action Center, approached RISE to know about an activity where volunteers of all age could participate, RISE suggested her to get involved in ‘Put Poverty to Bed’ drive.
Vibha volunteers began planning for this activity in mid-December, under Hamidah Thanawala’s leadership. For ‘Put Poverty to Bed’ drive, the volunteers needed to collect ‘night care’ items, such as new pajamas, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bedtime books, stuffed toys, slippers, etc. The volunteers had started publicizing this event via social media as well as by word of mouth advertising in their communities and neighborhoods. They also put collection bins in their respective workplaces to gather donations from their colleagues. A lot of items were collected by the volunteers’ families and friends.
A month later, in the evening of January 18, about 22 Vibha volunteers (8 adults and 14 teens) gathered at First Presbyterian Church of Hightstown to work together with the church members for sorting and packaging of the collected items, which would later be picked up by RISE. All the members (Vibha and Church), together, were able to sort and pack over 225 bags. When asked about distribution of these packages, Leslie Koppel, an executive director of RISE, said; “For many, these basic things seem simple, but for the local families we work with, these items are treasures. The packages will be given to the children of low-income families when their parents register for services.”
Vibha volunteers keep building up great paradigms of being benevolent by grabbing such opportunities to helping people in need, staying undeterred by the frigid weather or other obstacles. This truly seems an example of ‘When there is a will, there is a way.’
An article published in Cranberry Press can be found via link below;