Volunteers give back for annual day of service

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia's Volunteer Programs recognized an annual day of service Saturday to honor fallen activist Martin Luther King, Jr.

The goal of the annual day of service was to come together as a community and give back.

Volunteers gathered in Cosmo Park to receive supplies, then were sent out in groups to clean up litter in areas throughout Columbia.

Members of AmeriCorps joined in the day of service with the goal of meeting critical needs in the community. AmeriCorps is a nonprofit civil society program whose volunteers participate in community service work across the country. 

"I wanted to take part in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of service," corps member Clint Brinkley said. "It's sort of a day 'on' instead of a day off." 

People participated in the trash clean up for a variety of reasons, including wanting to make their neighborhoods more presentable and fulfilling New Year's resolutions.

Jody Cook, the Volunteer Programs specialist, said this day of service is a necessity for Columbia. 

"People care about the city and we need everyone to contribute," Cook said. "I'm always so impressed at how many people really want to invest in our community." 

Although volunteers were asked to register before the event, last-minute atendees were welcomed. 

"You can't have too many people, especially with something like a litter pickup," Cook said.

Trash and recyclables were both collected, although the recycling was brought to a registered drop-off site. 

Cook said there are a variety of volunteer programs for the city and everyone can find an area of interest. 

"We can find a placement for any interest or skill level or talents that they have," Cook said. "It takes all of us to make this city great."