MLK Day of Service: Building a Community Garden

By: Kelsey Warren, Recreation Specialist

What looks like a empty piece of land will soon be filled with some delicious fruits and vegetables in a community garden coming to W.D. Hill Recreation Center...and you can be part of the volunteer team to make it happen!

For over 5 years the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has been celebrated at W.D. Hill Recreation Center, a day that brings out the community and honors the life of Dr. King through the arts. It’s a day of fanfare and entertainment and is always looked forward to by community members who gather into the center to experience all that the staff have put together for the event. 

When it came time to plan the MLK event last year, we were in a very interesting predicament with COVID-19 and all the restrictions that were put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. Unfortunately, it was clear that the traditional layout of the event was not something that would be likely and we were left with two choices: pivot or cancel. Luckily with our new normal came new ways to connect with others and so it was decided that MLK’s legacy would still be celebrated, only this time completely virtual. As with prior years, members of the community participated in a day that was filled with entertainment, music, thought provoking discussion and fellowship all from the comforts of their homes. Everyone involved was proud of the work that was put in and the amazing outcome while looking forward to what was to come for 2022. 

Dr. King's legacy is one that not only fosters hope and equality but also community and being there for your fellow man. The effects of COVID-19 on the Durham community has been daunting with the amount of loss that has been experienced. Following Dr. King's legacy, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community while also bringing new life to this beloved W.D. Hill Recreation Center annual event. 

And that is where the idea for the MLK Day of Service came to life! While this isn't a new concept, one of my goals for this event is to make sure our day of service has a specific purpose. The MLK Day of Service will kickstart the beginning of a larger project for the community, around W.D. Hill Recreation Center, through the building of a community garden. 

Join us Saturday, January 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the 2022 MLK Day of Service, as we focus on laying the ground work for the garden, clearing out the plot, and getting it ready for all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that will soon grow there. Dr. King once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” This day of service is honoring that statement and the action that is expected from it. I hope that everyone within the community is able to come out and lend a helping hand in building something that will serve the community for years to come. Sign up to join us by visiting iVolunteer.

We'll also be hosting a Grand Re-Opening of W.D. Hill Recreation Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. along with an official dedication of the newly named Algonquin Tennis Club Room. Light refreshments will be served.

For more details about this event, visit ActiveNet or our website. Have more specific questions? Contact Kelsey Warren via email or call 919-560-4355.