Day of Service

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Washington is a city of monuments, but it’s also a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive style. Those of us who live and work in the D.C. area often take these emblems of our heritage for granted. We barely even see them as we go about our busy daily lives.
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In the chaos that followed the Sept. 11 attacks 14 years ago, some things came into exquisite focus. We suddenly knew what really mattered — our loved ones, our country, our heroes and the huge loss we had all just suffered.
Day of service at Martha's Table
September 11 was AARP's annual Day of Service where all employees can volunteer their time and talents to a charity of their choice. Along with 10 other AARP employees, I volunteered at Martha's Table, a 33-year-old Washington, DC charity that, among other projects, feeds 1,100 people daily, many of them homeless. They also run a preschool and after school program for children from low income families.  As the Food Prep Volunteers, we chopped our way through what seemed like bottomless bins of tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra, and squash for about three hours. A couple of us (i.e., me) were even lucky enough to wash the dishes from the chicken stew that was the day's meal.
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As we remember Sept. 11, 2001, stories of good deeds that sprouted from that tragedy abound.
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Astute readers of this blog will recall that, in a recent post, I chided readers to view volunteering as a year-round pursuit, not just something to be done on certain special days of the year. While I am sticking to that stance, a certain special day is upon us so I must chide you to volunteer now, even if only for one day. That day is Monday, Jan. 16 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
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