Indeed, they made it a day on, not a day off.

More than 400 members of the community came out on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 19-20, for Jewish Volunteer Connection’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Jmore was a co-sponsor of the daylong program.

Among the hands-on, service-learning activities at venues around town were packing diapers and sorting children’s clothes at ShareBaby; serving meals at Helping Up Mission, Beans & Bread, the Weinberg Housing and Resource Center, and various shelters; preparing care packages and “kindness kits”; and participating in beautification projects at Broadway East and other neighborhoods.

From 1 to 3 p.m., volunteers dropped by the Park Heights Jewish Community Center for the day’s signature event. While elementary school students read stories and took part in community-building activities, middle-schoolers learned about disability awareness from Jewish Community Services counselors and various speakers.

In addition, adults participated in a learning session on immigrant justice facilitated by the nonprofit Jews United for Justice-Baltimore branch.

“We were honored to join with volunteers around the country today as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service,” said JVC Executive Director Ashley Pressman. “I was inspired by how many people came out to volunteer and to learn together at our mega-site at the JCC.  One volunteer told me that as a result of her participation in one of our learning sessions, she now has a heightened awareness of how a person’s hidden disability may impact the way they interact with her, and that’s something she can and should be sensitive to.

“It was also wonderful to see people leaving the JCC with Kindness Kits and a plan to distribute them to people in need,” Pressman said. “Several people told me that the kits motivate them to actually roll down their window and engage with people experiencing homelessness, which is a gift to both the volunteer and the recipient.”

JVC is a program of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, which is celebrating its centennial this year. For information, visit