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      Volunteers make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a day of service

      In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the United Way of Wapello County encouraged the holiday to not be a day off, but be a day "on" and spend the day off work giving back to the community.

      This year is the second annual MLK Day of Service. Volunteers from Iowa Legal Aid, the Volunteer Center, the Red Cross, the Foster Grandparents Program and AmeriCorps gathered at the Red Cross in Ottumwa to assemble disaster kits for those in need.

      "Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday that's also a national day of service," said Ali Wilson, Volunteer Center Coordinator at the United Way of Wapello County. "It's a great time to reflect on what you can do for your community and the impact service can have, so that's what we're doing today."

      The volunteers made 55 kits to be distributed to families or individuals in Ottumwa who are suffering from either a single-family disaster, such as a house fire, or a widespread disaster, like flooding.

      This year's project was the winning proposal from Indian Hills Community College's "Principals of Management" class. The kits were packed with water, food, first aid kits and flashlights, and will be given out to those in need. The idea is to have these kits made and ready to go before a disaster hits.

      For more information on the United Way of Wapello County, visit their website.