HARRISBURG, Pa. — Central Pennsylvanians honored the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by reminding people to give back to those in need today. Despite the recent winter weather, various organizations across Central Pa. gathered in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to volunteer for local causes.
At Caitlin's Smiles, a nonprofit organization in Harrisburg, volunteers decorated cards and gift bags called "bags of smiles" to give to children at area hospitals.
"The kids love not only the items in the bags, but they really like it too that somebody took the time to hand decorate the bags and to make cards," said Cheryl Hornung, the founder and director of Caitlin's Smiles.
These bags have crayons, craft kits and other fun items for kids in the hospital.
"All of these decorations, it kind of makes it more personal," said volunteer Sihil Barapatre. "It makes us connect with these children more, and it helps them really get through the tough time that they're having, makes them feel like children again."
Volunteers came from the Cumberland Valley High School Key Club and the Boy Scouts.
"The children in the hospital are going through tough times right now," said volunteer Arnav Andhare. "They're probably not in a good mood most of the time. I'm just hoping that these bags will put a smile on their face and make their day a little bit better."
Dauphin County Representative Patty Kim and other state leaders also honored Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.
Even though the weather canceled some service projects, Rep. Kim says the mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will not be limited to just one day.
"We as a committee [the Central Pennsylvania Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Committee] want to be more intentional to provide service project opportunities throughout the year and call it MLK 365," said Rep. Kim. "We can make more of a positive impact this way."