The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday isn't just another day off from work or school, but for many it's a day of service.
For the second year in a row, students and their families with Congregation Beth Israel are helping to serve those who are less fortunate.
"It's a good feeling," Justin Benbrook said.
Benbrook and a handful of his peers spent the day sorting, packaging and boxing up donated onions at Foodshare in Hartford.
So far they've filled more than 32 boxes.
"We like to give back service and give to other people in need," he said. "Even though we have exams this week and even thought it's work, it's a nice break."
They're part of a program called Journey Onward at Congregation Beth Israel. It's one of the 16 projects they're working on this federal holiday, which also was Pres. Barack Obama's inauguration.
"Obama called for a day of giving back," said Carrie Shaw, a teacher at CBI. "It's a day of giving back to communities and if you start them early, it becomes natural for them."
Like the adult volunteers at Central Baptist Church on Main Street in Hartford. Every MLK day they team up with a local pastor and the Salvation Army to serve food to those in need and keep them warm this winter.
"With everything closed this day, especially being MLK day is a good way to have a warm meal and a warm place to come," said Pastor Sam Saylor.
Bernice Jones, of Hartford, said she feels blessed to be the recipient of good food and warm clothing and plans on passing it along.
"I picked up six coats for my grandchildren. I promised them cheetah coats and camouflage. I came to the right Church," she said.
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