National day of service, local volunteers serve food - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

National day of service, local volunteers serve food

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - President Barack Obama called Saturday a national day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.            

The President and First Lady did their part by volunteering at a Washington D.C. school. Both helped with a makeover project, spending time staining a bookshelf.

Obama said the day of service should remind all people of Dr. King's legacy.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 21.

Locally, people also dedicated their time to service.

At the La Crosse Salvation Army a handful of volunteers put on their latex gloves and served food to the hungry.

They didn't know it was a national day of service; they just wanted to volunteer.

"I think it's great being able to give back to the community," said volunteer Alyssa Blank. "Seeing everyone's bright faces and how happy they are, even if things are maybe not the best in their life right now."

For the past month Blank has spent every Saturday at the Salvation Army, using her winter break to serve a warm meal to those who need one.

"Seeing that they don't have that food that's so easily accessible to me, I really try not to take it all for granted," Blank said.

Volunteer Christine Quackenbush usually sees the need for food from the other side of the counter.

Currently, she's staying at the Salvation Army's Emergency Shelter.

But with the volunteers in need of an extra helping hand, she didn't hesitate to put on a hairnet and latex gloves.

"Sometimes there's only two volunteers here and, you know, to get the people going through faster, I just can't sit there and do nothing," Quackenbush said.

"Instead of damaging the community, you're helping the community," added Vincent (Angel) Martinez.

Martinez said he helps out because of his past.

"There's a lot of people out there who need help. If they need somebody to talk to, I talk to them, try to help them. I've been in their places before," he said.

All of Saturday's volunteers have different stories for picking up a spoon. But they're all giving of their time and helping their neighbors.

"It's great being able to give back to the community," Blank said.

All the Salvation Army meals are served by volunteers.

Organizers said there can never be enough help.

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