New College students give back to community on MLK Day

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SARASOTA - Monday was a national holiday in honor of the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  All day, some New College of Florida students volunteered their time and service to the community.

"I think it's important not to look at it as a day off.  It's a holiday in memory of a man who dedicated his life fighting injustice," said Nicholas Manting-Brewer, volunteering with New College on Monday at the Resurrection House in Sarasota. 

Instead of using the holiday time for themselves, students and staff from New College are using it to serve others.  "One of the most overlooked messages behind Martin Luther King is his anti-poverty message.  So I think this is directly in line with what he would have wanted in terms of service," said Manting-Brewer.

Their volunteer work began this weekend and continued on Monday with students serving homemade vegetable soup, rice, and cornbread to the homeless during lunch time.

"A lot of times like the homeless shelters get lots of bread products and like peanut butter and jelly other things like that but they don't often get a lot of vegetables," said Erica Lindegren, Volunteer Coordinator.  "So we specifically focused on that."

For some who visit the center 5 days a week, it was a heartwarming experience.

"It brightens your day up a little bit to know that you get a nice hot mean and that, you know, you have students of all people from New College that are donating their time and coming out here and saying look, we do care," said Eileen Reed.

Those who work there said it's an effort providing a memory to last a lifetime by instilling kindness on those who need it most in their lives.

"There's hardly a day  that goes by that someone, one of the clients does come up to the volunteers and come up to me and thank us for what we do for them.  And if they really knew, they'd probably do more for us than we will ever do for them," said Resurrection House worker Bill Wilson.

Just last semester alone, students put in over 800 hours of community service.