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Long Island

Long Islanders asked to do service for their communities on MLK Day

Bob Jesberger, owner of Mid Island Collision in

Bob Jesberger, owner of Mid Island Collision in Rockville Centre, stands in his shop Friday with coats that will be given to infants, children and adults in need. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Treat Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — like “a day on, not a day off.”

That's the message from the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that leads the efforts to inspire Americans to improve their communities through service.

Monday marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service to celebrate the legacy of the civil rights leader.

“This day of service helps to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, address social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a ‘Beloved Community,’” the agency said on its website. “Your service honors Dr. King's life and teachings and helps meet community challenges.”

In the spirit of service, communities across Long Island will host volunteering events on Monday to prepare meals, create food packages and assemble winter clothes for people in need.

“It’s biblical. You are expected to help those who can’t help themselves,” said Bob Jesberger, owner of Mid Island Collision and organizer of a Monday coat drive. “There’s a great need. People support my business. This is one way to show my appreciation.”

Jesberger called on Long Islanders to join him and others to donate their time on Monday to sort through 4,500 winter coats for children and adults in need. Jesberger said he spent more than $100,000 to purchase the brand-new coats.

From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jesberger said hundreds of volunteers would work at his auto repair shop at 468 Lakeview Ave. in Rockville Centre to bag the coats.

Organizations from Long Island and the five boroughs of New York City, including social services agencies, shelters, churches and synagogues, will pick up the coats for further distribution. Individual walk-ins also are welcome. Jesberger said people may try on a coat before taking it home.

Jesberger also challenged his fellow business owners.

“Businesses have an obligation to help those out in the community. The community supports your business, and you are supposed to support those in the community,” he said. “So we challenge other companies to do the same.”

Here’s a list of other events Long Islanders can participate on Monday:

COLD SPRING HARBOR

Make lunch for the guests at the Helping Hands Rescue Mission in Huntington Station and take action to end hunger, all ages welcome, 10:30 a.m., Kehillath Shalom Synagogue, 58 Goose Hill Rd.; freewill cash donations accepted to support the program; 631-367-4589, kehillathshalomsynagogue.org.

EAST HILLS

Volunteer to assemble more than 30,000 meals to be donated to those in need, 11 a.m., registration begins; 11:15 a.m. to noon breakfast, service learning, and craft projects; noon to 2 p.m., meal assembly; all ages are welcome, Sid Jacobson JCC, 300 Forest Dr.; free, register; sjjcc.org/event/mlk-day-of-service-2, 516-484-1545.

LAWRENCE

Assemble bags of winter clothes to be distributed to schoolchildren in underserved communities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC’s Harrison-Kerr Family Campus at 140 Central Ave. in Lawrence.

PLAINVIEW

Changing the World One Dream at a Time packing event, creating packages that directly support those struggling with food insecurity and poverty on Long Island, 9:45 a.m. to noon, Mid- Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Rd.; register; to participate, bring any of the following: apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes or onions; 516-822-3535, ext. 347, miyjcc.org/mlkday.

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