Win-win for businesses that offer ‘Day of Service’

On Monday, Jan. 15, Flossmoor residents have a unique opportunity to be part of a community-wide volunteer experience through the fourth annual MLK Day of Service.

On the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community partners and residents will join together in service projects throughout the local area. According to village program and event coordinator Laura Brennan-Levy, there’s still time for everyone to get involved, either hosting a service event or volunteering.

“There’s absolutely still time to get involved,” Brennan-Levy said. “We understand we’re coming off the Christmas holiday, so it’s a little tough. But I’m not worried because we’ve found that most of our projects come in the week before.”

For the past several weeks, Brennan-Levy has been contacting businesses and nonprofits, encouraging them to get involved in the day of service. Nonprofits can request volunteer help for the day, offering specifics about the number of volunteers they need and the types of work they need accomplished. Businesses can host a service project at their location, collect donations or volunteer as a group for a nonprofit organization of their choosing.

“I know all the people at these businesses have a connection to an organization, somehow,” Brennan-Levy said. “What’s great is that we’re not saying you have to do it for ‘this’ specific place. You can do whatever you’re interested in.”

For example, she said, a pet-centric business could host a volunteer project for an organization that helps animals. A dental practice could help at a social service organization that supports health initiatives.

Neighboring Homewood also participates in the MLK Day of Service, and Brennan-Levy said activities aren’t confined to the two towns. Volunteers who sign up for the project through the Forest Preserve District of Cook County will visit Dan Ryan Woods at 87th Street and Western Avenue to remove invasive plant species. The Bridge Thrift Store in Orland Park needs volunteers for its shop that supports The Bridge Teen Center.

Locally, business groups and residents can volunteer and donate for various projects at Flossmoor Village Hall and at Park Place in Flossmoor Park. The village’s website hosts  a growing list of service opportunities

There already are more than 200 volunteer spots listed, and some requests are already filled. The Community Dinner at First Presbyterian Church of Homewood already has the four volunteers it needs for its Jan. 15 Community Dinner, but Brennan-Levy said the church hosts the dinner — and needs volunteers — every Monday.

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