More Than 125K Volunteer on MLK Day

Monday, Jan 20, 2014  |  Updated 9:31 PM EDT
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The Philadelphia region had about 125,000 people participate in MLK Service Day service activities.

NBC10 - Renee Chenault-Fattah

The Philadelphia region had about 125,000 people participate in MLK Service Day service activities.

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About 125,000 volunteers took part in service activities in the region to mark the Martin Luther King holiday.

At Girard College in North Philadelphia on Monday, Mayor Michael Nutter led a group that packed up donated school supplies, including computers and books, for the city's neediest schools amid the latest school district financial crisis.

Todd Bernstein, founder of the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, said it's a day of service "that turns into a springboard of ongoing, active citizenship."

"We all should feel some sense of responsibility," he said.

Girard was a central hub for the King Day efforts.

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King visited the school in 1965, joining Philadelphia NAACP President Cecil B. Moore and thousands of others, who demanded that the school open its doors to people of all races. Girard, once a boarding school for underprivileged white boys, now serves a diverse mix of low-income boys and girls.

Some of the original Cecil B. Moore Philadelphia Freedom Fighters shared their experiences at the school on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Orchestra performed its annual King Tribute Concert.

And employers turned out to meet with hundreds of pre-screened job seekers. They included local hospitals and universities, telecom companies and government agencies, all of which had pledged they had jobs to fill.

Bernstein said King wasn't only a civil rights activist, he also was "a champion for economic justice."

"On a day that we celebrate his legacy, economic opportunity is a major focus for us," Bernstein said. "... The march on Washington was for jobs and freedom."

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