Columbians honor MLK by organizing trash cleanup

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COLUMBIA - Martin Luther King Jr. day is celebrated Monday Jan. 15, but cities across the country have organized volunteer efforts all weekend to celebrate his legacy of service.

Volunteers braved the bitter cold Saturday morning for Columbia's MLK day of service event at Cosmo Park. 

Dr. King believed that everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. 

Event leader Jeff Christie said he was pleased that the weather didn't keep volunteers away, and by the larger than expected turnout. 

"It's really impressive, given how hard it was for me to get out of bed and come here," Christie said. "It's more than just about beautifying the city. It's awesome that people are willing to give up their Saturday morning to freeze out here."

Organizers passed out coffee, gloves, hand-warmers, garbage bags and safety vests to encourage volunteers to get out and make a difference. 

Sydney Stewart said taking time to keep the city clean is simply the right thing to do.

"Personally, I just really don't like trash," Stewart said. "It's just disrespectful to the area you call home."

Volunteers were encouraged to clean for two hours, or until their fingers couldn't take the cold anymore.

"These hand-warmers are saving me," volunteer Robert Enyard said. "Once we start walking around I'll feel a lot better." 

The city of Columbia hosts volunteer events all year long, their next event is scheduled later this month.