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Jesse White will reflect on King during Day of Service



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Updated: March 16, 2014 3:47AM

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will speak of his experiences as a student of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the fifth Highland Park/Highwood Day of Service on Jan. 20 in honor of the slain leader of the civil rights movement.

Each year on King’s birthday, hundreds of adults and children heed his call to service by spending a few hours at the Highland Park Recreation Center making a contribution. The event, sponsored by North Shore District 112 and the Highland Park Human Relations Commission, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the recreation center, 1207 Park Avenue West, Highland Park.

White is scheduled to speak at 12 p.m. after a performance by The Jesse White Tumbling Team at 11:30 a.m.

White grew up in Chicago, but lived in Alabama while attending Alabama State University on an athletic scholarship. He attended King’s church in south Montgomery, Ala.

Featured guests will include Lynn Epps of Highland Park, who will perform a tribute to King. The Edgewood Middle School chorus will sing songs of freedom beginning at 10 a.m. and the Highland Park High School Jazz Band will play patriotic songs.

Participants will choose among dozens of service projects that brighten the days of hospitalized children, soldiers overseas, families living in homeless shelters and those trying to stretch their food dollar — to name just a few.

About three dozen organizations will sponsor workstations to benefit various causes focusing on needs close to home and overseas.

Moraine Township Trustee Amy Zisook will help participants sort and bag food items for the township’s food pantry. Also benefiting the food pantry, the Red Oak School Parent Teacher-Organization will help volunteers scoop dry, soup ingredients into bags with labels and recipes.

Participants will have a chance to assemble toiletries for local shelters; write letters to soldiers and children in military families; decorate quilt squares for hospitalized children, and decorate ceramic tiles for murals in nursing homes and assisted living residences, among the many activities.

Humans won’t be the only beneficiaries of the Day of Service. Personnel from the Heller Nature Center will help make bird-feed garlands to nourish birds in winter, while other organizations will create dog blankets and toys for pet shelters.

Food will be available for purchase through the Two Soldiers and a Marine Food Truck.

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