Oak Knoll Hosts School’s First-Ever MLK Day of Service

While some may see the third Monday in January – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day – as simply a day off from work or school, an increasing number of socially conscious individuals are celebrating MLK Jr. Day as a day of service. Such was the case with a group of Oak Knoll families who gathered at the school last Monday to assemble lunch bags for Bridges Outreach. The event was a collaboration between the Upper School Office of Campus Ministry and the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice. 

In all, families created more than 500 meals for the nonprofit organization based in Summit whose mission is to “end homelessness through volunteer-driven outreach and individual case management focusing on health, housing, and independence.” In addition to the lunch supplies donated by Oak Knoll, families donated their own bread, cold cuts, ziplock bags, packaged snacks, fruit, and brown bags to assemble the final donations. The day began with light refreshments followed by a prayer service.

Fr. Jim Worth, a pastor from St. Joseph Parish in Maplewood and adjunct professor at Seton Hall University, spoke to Oak Knoll families about how the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King actually lived out Jesus’ teachings about loving thy neighbor. He challenged those in attendance to combat hate with love, as the only way to combat darkness is with light.

In addition to creating meals for those in need, families could opt to make cards for patients at Overlook Hospital and for active military members and veterans.

“It is so important to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy through service,” said Michele Van Kalsbeck, Oak Knoll’s Director of Campus Ministry. “Dr. King’s legacy is one of action, and so I’m glad that Oak Knoll could remember him through action.”

Girl working on kindness journal