Arlington Day of Service (Joel Thomas/CBSDFW)

Arlington Day of Service (Joel Thomas/CBSDFW)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – In cities across North Texas, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was marked with a day of service.

In Fort Worth, more than 300 volunteers filled the sanctuary of Baker Chapel AME church and held a brief church service before breaking up into groups and heading out to some 30 volunteer sites, to take on a variety of projects.

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In Arlington, more than 200 people received assignments for the day at UT Arlington’s Activity Center before heading out into the city.

Fort Worth organizer Melinda Veatch with the Tarrant Area Community of Churches (TACC), said the goal is to make volunteerism a universal language. “Regardless of where we come from racially, where we come from denominationally, where we come from class (sic), we all understand Dr. Martin Luther King saying, ‘Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.’”

“Today is fulfilling Martin Luther King’s dream,” said Toni Kincaid, Arlington Chairperson for Day of Service. “Going out serving, doing for others and that’s what we’re doing.”

Volunteers headed out to one project to help Feed by Grace, a non-profit organization helping the homeless community. Good Samaritans headed out to the east Fort Worth gardens run by Feed by Grace. “They’re expanding the garden and we are instructed to create a new garden path,” explained volunteer Shane Whislter, from with East Broad Outreach Center in Mansfield.

Members of Fort Worth’s homeless community work the gardens, in Unity Park in the city’s homeless district, and then give the food to area residents who are homebound, elderly or unable to afford fresh vegetables.

At Mission Arlington, dozens of volunteers pull donated items from huge storage containers and begin sorting and boxing the goods.

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“There are a lot of canned goods that need to be sorted and moved to another place,” said Celete Mackey who’d brought her 7-year old daughter Adriana from Mansfield to volunteer.

Teenager Brianna Pearson also spent part of the day donating her time. “I think it’s good to do something on this day, to just serve people,” the 17-year-old said. “I think it’s just a good thing.”

The dozens of volunteer opportunities varied, with outlets of interest for everyone. “We’ve got folks doing everything from working in community gardens, to working at the Humane Society of North Texas, to doing mailings for the Community Food Bank,” Veatch said. “It’s very exciting to see people come together to be of service together in the community.”

And as the volunteers lend a hand, they’re handing down a lesson from generation to generation.

There was no work today. But Celete Mackey learned the value of performing a labor of love with her daughter.  “Teaching her, for one, that its good to give to others and volunteer,” Celete said. “That its not always about us.”

While President Barack Obama took the oath of office and spoke to the nation, teenager Brianna Pearson spoke words of encouragement to her peers. “We want to make the world a better place. So if kids get involved then they’re gonna grow up and they’re gonna teach their kids and it’s going to be better.”

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