Multifaith Day of Service sends 525 volunteers throughout SM County

The Peninsula Multifaith Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day Monday dispatched 525 volunteers, aged 5 through 85, to a dozen sites throughout San Mateo County to work on 20 different projects. Our organization Pacifica Institute joined the efforts with 30 volunteers and also prepared breakfasts volunteers.

Sponsored by the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition, the annual Day of Service began with breakfast at three sites: St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in San Mateo, First Presbyterian Church in Burlingame and Fair Oaks Elementary School in Redwood City.

After breakfast the volunteers fanned out across the county to make baby hats, fleece blankets, cards and rainbow bracelets for Ukrainian orphans; clean and repair classrooms and gardens at Fair Oaks School; paint and install shelving at John Gill Elementary School in Redwood City and North Shoreview Montessori Elementary School in San Mateo; prepare and serve breakfast for day laborers at the San Mateo Workers Resource Center.

Others sorted donated coats for Samaritan House and two schools; boxed 2,500 donated books for children; sang to the elderly at three nursing homes; served lunch at Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco; sewed book bags My New Red Shoes; and read to children as Reading Buddies at Fair Oaks where parents attended literacy workshops.

“This gathering of over 500 volunteers throughout the Peninsula is the culmination of a year of planning by representatives from at least 20 faith communities representing Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus,” said the Rev. Kristi Denham of the Congregational Church of Belmont. “The experience of sharing a meal together and then working together to serve others reminds us of our common values and our common humanity. What a glorious way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King!”

The faith groups who participated in this year’s Day of Service included the Congregational Church, Belmont; St. Paul’s Episcopal, Peninsula Temple Sholom, First Presbyterian Church and Pacifica Institute, Burlingame; Peninsula Sinai Congregation, Foster City; St. Matthias Catholic Church, Congregation Beth Jacob and Shinnyo-en USA, Redwood City; Congregational Church of San Mateo, Peninsula Temple Beth El, St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church and St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, San Mateo; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of the Peninsula; the Local Peace Initiative and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

The Peninsula Multifaith Coalition says it brings together diverse faith communities to build bridges of understanding and respect. “We stand together with humility to acknowledge our common values, learn from one another and serve our wider world.”