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Donation Drives, Community Gatherings Held Across Chicago In Honor Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

CHICAGO (CBS)-- From donation drives and community gatherings to family classes, there were many local events Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Day is traditionally a day of service, with people encouraged to volunteer to improve their communities as a way of honoring Dr. King's legacy.

That's why volunteers gathered for an MLK Day packing party at UCAN Chicago in North Lawndale, and organizers said it's a party for a good cause.

Members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Omega Psi Phi fraternity are packing hygiene kits for the homeless and for families at the Ronald McDonald House, according to Melanie Ware, of the Chicago Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.

"We've got soap, and handwarmers, and masks, and toothbrush, toothpaste," she said.

Organizers said it's all in the spirit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"He was a drum major for peace and justice, but he was also for the community, and so that's what we're excited about doing today," Ware said.

"We all came from some place where maybe people are unfortunate, or we know somebody who's unfortunate, and this is the time for us to be able to give back," said Dagogo Obomanu, of the Rho Mu Mu chapter of Omega Psi Phi.

The packing party was just one of several events happening on MLK Day. Because we are still dealing with a pandemic, some others are holding their celebration virtually, including the city of Chicago's official MLK Day of Service.

The virtual event kicked off at 10 a.m. with a virtual ceremony, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot in attendance. The second part of the event will continue in-person at Kellman Elementary School.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Push is moving along with its 32nd annual MLK celebration. The breakfast event was virtual on Facebook and YouTube.

Then there's the Chicago History Museum's family event from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The day's activities are free with admission to the museum, which is also free for Illinois residents on Monday.

Events include a youth poetry workshop, musical performances and a panel discussion on Chicago's housing rights movement.

If you plan to attend the events at the museum, you have to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination to get in.

The DuSable Museum of African American History is hosting various virtual events from 9 a.m. through 2:30 p.m., including a film screening of the 1999 film Our Friend, Martin, a public conversation on King's legacy, and a meditation workshop.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., non-profit group Ladies of Virtue is hosting an event to distribute groceries, school supplies, and PPE to people living at the Oakley Square Apartments on the Near West Side. Organizers said 80% of households in the apartment complex earn just $10,000 a year.

At the Cook County Forest Preserves, volunteers can help to clean up litter and begin ecological restoration efforts at various locations. Bags and gloves will be provided. Contact or with questions.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cradles to Crayons is collecting donations of children's items to help those in need. You can donate winter clothes like coats, boots and scarves along with other needed items.

Check out the purple donation boxes at one of the 34 Chicago area drop-off locations listed below:

  • Acorn Library - 15624 Central Ave., Oak Forest, IL 60452
  • Alcott Center - 530 Bernard Dr., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
  • Alternatives, Inc. - 4730 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60640
  • Aw Yeah Comics - 7925 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, IL 60077
  • Bank of America - 1301 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville, IL 60563
  • Bank of America - 1300 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
  • Buffalo Grove Park Community Arts Center - 225 McHenry Rd., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
  • Children's Lighthouse of North Center Chicago - 2600 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL 60618
  • Cloud and Bunny - 1600 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60613
  • Creative Scholars Preschool - 1735 N Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60642
  • East Bank Storage - 429 W. Ohio St., Chicago, IL 60654
  • Edgewater Playhouse - 1048 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660
  • Flying High Sports & Rec Center - 5400 East Ave., Countryside, IL 60525
  • Fry Family YMCA - 2120 W., 2120 95th St., Naperville, IL 60564
  • Highwood Public Library - 102 Highwood Ave., Highwood, IL 60040
  • Indian Boundary YMCA - 711 59th St, Downers Grove, IL 60516
  • Jewett Park Community Center - 836 Jewett Park Drive, Deerfield, IL 60015
  • Lake View YMCA - 3333 N Marshfield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
  • Little Beans Café - 430 Asbury Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
  • Mathnasium Ravenswood - 1754 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
  • McGuane Park - 2901 S Poplar Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Moonwalker Café - 4101 W. Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60641
  • Quilter's Trunk - 10352 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60643
  • Reebie Storage and Moving Co - 2325 N. Clark St. #300, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Soul 2 Sole Dance Inc. - 799 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035
  • South Side YMCA - 6330 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
  • StudioUs - 4806 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640
  • The Giving Factory - 4141 W. George St. Chicago, IL 60641
  • Timeless Toys - 4749 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60625
  • Tiny Tots Incorporated - 2603-2611 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Ultimate Ninjas Chicago - 2915 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
  • Universal Wellness Source - 1902 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
  • West Cook YMCA - 255 S Marion St, Oak Park, IL 60302
  • Windy City Fieldhouse - 2367 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
  • Kangaroo Kids - 4161 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Also at 10 a.m., the Resident Association of Greater Englewood is hosting a community gathering and giveaway event at Lindlom Park.

There'll be booths for COVID testing, vaccines as well as food and voter registration.

Rainbow Push has a virtual celebration set for 10 a.m. The event is open to the public, but you have to register online.

Then there's the Chicago History Museum's in-person events that kick off at 10:30 a.m.

Events include a youth poetry workshop, musical performances and a panel discussion on Chicago's housing rights movement.

If you plan to attend the events at the museum, you have to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination to get in.

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