Martin Luther King Day means call to service for many

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 20 at 8:21 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS - Brian Place could win an award for hard work as he swung his pick-axe, giving back on Martin Luther King Day.

"Usually I don't work this hard on vacation," said Place, who is from Santa Ana, California. "I'm from out of town, so I'm just having a little fun today."

Place joined 45 volunteers restoring the Treme Community Garden, which dates back to the 1980s.

"We'll create raised rows, and we'll have produce that will provide for the community and small businesses, and then the very back will become our teaching section," said Tye Waller of the organizing groups Sankore Trades & Arts, and the New Orleans Women Artists Collective.

Some spent this day giving others a meal. Every couple of weeks William Karry feeds the homeless, making red beans and rice and Bar-B-Cued chicken today.

"20-30 years ago, I was on drugs myself, so I know what it means not to have, so to come out here and feed them, it meant a lot," said Karry.

It also meant a lot to the newly formed service group called '60 Cups.' They distributed bag lunches.

"It started out giving soup when it was really, really cold outside, and it has spiraled into so much more," said Kimisha Sawyers of 60 Cups.

"Well, I was starving so I appreciate it," said Mary Ann, who has been homeless for a year.

Nearly 250 volunteers worked on a one acre garden at Arthur Ashe Charter School.

"The kids get to learn what it is like to plant carrots, pull them out of the ground, learn to cook and eat them," said Peggy Mendoza, of the organizing group City Year New Orleans.

And when they finished the school, they fanned out into the neighborhood, cleaning up, and making a difference on Martin Luther King Day.

"What day is this for you? My birthday," smiled Volunteer Mary Ann Smith. "And you're working? Yes, yes."

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