Volunteers trade "day off" for "day of service" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers trade "day off" for "day of service"

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"   Monday, on the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday, despite the snow, people across the Cedar Valley worked together to answer that question.  It wasn't a day off for everyone.  Many have taken on the mentality that a national day of service is a "day on, not a day off."

The thought of a three day weekend mixed with the snow tempted Debbie Pierce of Cedar Rapids to stay home and stay warm, but she felt a deeper calling.

Debbie says, "Oh its fun to help others that come and help us.  So its kind of a pay it back."

Since Debbie's employer gave her company the day off to observe the federal holiday, she signed up through the United Way to volunteer. It's all part of what's known as a national day of service.

Sue Driscoll of the United Way of East Central Iowa says, "It's a great day, to be putting people to work out in the community and helping out on what would be their day off.  We have 120 volunteers with 11 different agencies."

One of the agencies welcoming volunteers is the ARC of East Central Iowa.

Volunteers stuff envelopes full of summer programming for children with developmental disabilities.  That is a task that would normally a few days. Volunteers get it done in a few hours.

Delaine Petersen of ARC says, "It allows us to focus more on the individuals we serve and a little less on the paperwork.  Paperwork is critical but we can do more hands on time with people who need us.  It's a true gift."

Inspired by the words and life of Martin Luther King Jr., Eastern Iowans worked to better their communities on this federal holiday.

Debbie put in a full days "work" on her "day off;" and plans to make giving back--- an annual tradition.  "If I can make someone else's personal life better, I will."

Online reporter:  Molly Nichols

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