Communities around the east observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Communities across eastern North Carolina are honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day with ceremonies, parades and service, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

In Greenville, an MLK Day of Service started at River Park North on 1000 Mumfod Road at 9 a.m. Volunteers had the chance to help maintain the trails at the park. Projects included removing debris, trash, and other items from along the trail. Volunteers who worked at least an hour received a coupon for free admission to the Walter L. Stasavich Science and Nature Center.

At East Carolina University, a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service began at 9:45 a.m. with an opening ceremony. After that, students went to service sites in Greenville/Pitt County from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then returned to Mendenhall Student Center to reflect on the day. The service sites included the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina, Stop Human Trafficking, Third Street Education Center, Cultivate Greenville, Stop Hunger Now, Making Pitt Fit and Magnolia Arts Center.

The Grifton Ministerial Alliance held its annual MLK Day Celebration, which included a downtown march at 10 a.m. and a service at 11 a.m. The march began at Grifton Chapel and the service was held at Grifton Tabernacle of Prayer on 227 Main St. As part of the service, local elected leaders and pastors from various churches spoke. First responders from Grifton were honored for their service during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

In Winterville, the Peace Presbyterian Church at 301 Guiness Drive hosted a Stop Hunger Meal packaging event. The event was divided into two sessions in hopes of packing 20,000 meals. The morning session was from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a break from 1 to 2 p.m. and the event will resume at 2. The plan is to go until all meals are packaged.

Young Women of Promise, Inc., along with Kinston Promise Neighborhood held their 10th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday observance in Kinston. The event started at 10 a.m. at St. Peter Church of Christ, 602 JP Harrison Blvd. Rev. Dr. Charles M. Beattie II from Atlanta, Georgia delivered the keynote message, Dr. Beattie is an international blues artist, ordained preacher and is currently enrolled as a seminarian in the Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta Georgia where he is enrolled in the Masters of Divinity program. Presiding and performing at the event was Elder Lessette Kornegay. The event included an interfaith prayer service. Individuals within the community were also recognized for their service to the Kinston Community with the 3rd Annual One to Watch Recognition and the Teens and Kids Who Care Awards program. A community offering was held with proceeds benefiting youth development programs in the community.

Volunteers from Craven Community College worked on projects at the Cove City  Community Center. That includes scraping floors and walls, cleaning, painting and yardwork. The project will assist the Cove City Community Center in their goal of opening this spring. The community center plans to offer tutoring and afterschool activities for area middle and high school students, a location for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) food distribution in partnership with Religious Community Services, as well as provide a venue for community activities

The 10th annual Keeping the Dream Alive Peace and Unity March was held in Jacksonville.  Marchers traveled down New Bridge St. to the Court House and returned on the route back to City Hall. A program honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will commence at 1 p.m. at the Disabled American Veterans building, located at 300 Roosevelt Road. The guest speaker for the program will be Dt. Alicia J. Chisolm, 45th Imperial Commandress of the Imperial Court, an Auxiliary of the A.E.A.O.N.M.S. of North and South America and its Jurisdictions, Inc. PHA. A light lunch will also be served.

The Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium in Carteret County has free admission in honor of Martin Luther King Day.  Visitors can also contribute non-perishable good to their food drive.

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