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AmeriCorps*VISTA puts citizenship and service in action

Volunteers sort and pack personal hygiene bags for the homeless Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Center for Community and Economic Development.

AmeriCorps*VISTA at Delta State University led 20 Delta residents in sorting donations for the National Point in Time Count of the Homeless to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Monday. VISTA members and staff were joined by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country on this national day of service.

“Today we answer Dr. King’s call to serve and are making a difference in the lives of Delta residents,” said Lakisha L. Butler, program associate for Marketing & Recruitment for AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Center for Community and Economic Development at Delta State. “A resourceful way to meet local needs, volunteer service is a powerful tool that builds strong communities. We are putting the core American principles of citizenship and service into action.”

AmeriCorps*VISTA members, staff and AmeriCorps alumni and service providers joined efforts to prepare over 150 personal hygiene bags that will be distributed during the National Point in Time Count of People Experiencing Homelessness.

The Count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities across the country to receive funding. The count is an important effort to make sure the voices of people experiencing homelessness are heard and efforts are made to provide appropriate services. It also helps communities develop more effective plans and measure progress toward ending homelessness.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that leads the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, working with the King Center in Atlanta and thousands of nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses nationwide.

These projects include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, reading to children, promoting nonviolence and more.

The day shines a spotlight on service as a powerful force to bridge economic and social divides — today and throughout the year. Many communities will also engage in dialogue to explore ways to address important issues.

“National Days of Service provide each of us with an opportunity to join neighbors and local leaders to tackle community challenges and strengthen the nation,” said Butler.

CNCS engages more than five million Americans in service through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the president’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

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