The Meaning of Service

Monday, January 16 is a day of service.

Defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:

The occupation or function of serving

The work performed by one that services

Contribution to the welfare of others

None of those definitions, however, seem exactly right. Maybe because it’s hard to fit all that one word means into a statement. Maybe the better definition isn’t a statement at all, but the question Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once asked: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'

These days that can be a hard question to answer. Just weeks after the holiday season when most of us have been bombarded with messages of giving, when our bank accounts and personal time are still recovering it can be hard to find the finances, not to mention energy to give more.

But now more than any other time is when it might be most important to give. Many charitable organizations quickly fall off the radar of their communities after the holidays, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t need help, and some organizations are busy planning their busy season desperately seeking volunteers.

Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day it is also a day of service. The MLK Day of Service is part of United We Serve and asks Americans to pledge to spend a day making a positive impact on their community. You can search for opportunities on the MLK Day of Service website, register your own Day of Service, and also check out Patch’s volunteers needed section.

There are many opportunities to get you started:

Pledge to be a volunteer for the , , Literacy Volunteers, , the events such as the , , and the , to name a few.


Daria Novak January 16, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Please don't forget our church communities, too. They need our help to help others. Growing up in CT we didn't depend on the government for handouts; communities joined together to serve those in need when a crisis arose. My parents taught us about making a personal commitment of time, (perhaps money) and energy to look out for fellow human beings. And, one day, if we needed it our fellow "travelers" would be there for us in our time of crisis. We never measured "volunteering" in hours completed as if it was a job or distasteful chore requiring a finish. I learned that giving of oneself as a way of life. We helped because someone needed it and it was the right, not the convenient, thing to do. Our youth in America need to be taught this culture of personal caring and individual responsibility. For many years now we have been told the govenrment has "programs" to take care of people. It allows us to become detatched from others and numb to their suffering. After all, we have done our duty as we paid our taxes. This simply is not right. I am not putting down government programs, but urging parents and grandparents reading this to rekindle the spirit of individual repsonsibility and caring among your family members. As long as the last generation is able to tell the next what it was like in America, the promise of love and caring will thrive. It is up to you and to me. Every member of our society will be richer for it.


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