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Pittsburghers Choose To Serve In Honor Of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The national holiday honoring the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was first observed in the United States in 1983. Since that start, there have been many different ways to mark his legacy. This year, the people of Pittsburgh chose to serve.

Many stepped out of their routines to help others. Students and families from Shady Side Academy were in the kitchen at the Ronald McDonald House, helping make breakfasts to go.

"It provides a space for families to be close to their children while they are in the hospital," explains Lillian Grate, the director of equity, inclusion and community relations at Shady Side Academy. "So sometimes, they just grab and go."

That is why the kids and their families worked to make soufflés and muffins for those who didn't have time for a sit-down breakfast.

In Moon Township at FedEx Ground headquarters, employees worked together to help end hunger.

"Today we will have over 300 people involved," says FedEx Gulf Region Vice President Carlos Etheredge. "We are doing three shifts, one hour sessions each, and we are going to package 30,000 meals today."

Those "meals" are small plastic bags that contain soy, a nutrient pack and then rice. Each bag simply needs to have water added to it to feed people around the world.

It's part of the effort of a group called Rise Against Hunger. Their goal is to end hunger by 2030.

"What Martin Luther King did for civil rights was very important for our country, and giving is a great opportunity to honor Dr. Martin Luther King on this day of service -- and we need to have some fun doing that," says Etheredge.

FedEx employees are doing the same job at ten other locations across the country. FedEx hopes to package 170,000 meals on MLK Day.

While the scale was not as large in the kitchen of the Ronald McDonald House, Shady Side students learned that every little bit helps.

"I have been volunteering for a while," says SSA student volunteer Nathan Jyachosky. "I am involved with scouts so I am always volunteering and helping out the community. That's just always good to give back."

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