Obama Foundation hosts volunteer service project for MLK Day

Obama Foundation Event #002 – Volunteer Heather McClean assists Adrian Arreguin as he helps make a double layer tied fleece blanket during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event at the Obama Foundation’s offices 1538 E 53rd St., Monday, Jan. 15. – Marc Monaghan

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

Volunteers gathered, Jan. 15, at the Obama Foundation’s Hyde Park headquarters, 1538 E. 53rd St., to assist with service projects to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Obama Foundation hosted volunteer activities with the Honeycomb Project.

More than 80 people were expected to volunteer throughout the day Monday. Those that volunteered at the event spent the early part of the afternoon preparing sack lunches, blankets, and comfort kits for La Casa Norte, an organization that provides stable housing and supportive services to youth and families in the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Back of the Yards.

Obama Foundation Event #001 – Sebastian Arreguin cuts a slit into a fleece blanket as he and his brother Adrian make, with the aid of their mother, a double layer tied fleece blanket during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event the Obama Foundation’s offices 1538 E 53rd St., Monday, Jan. 15. – Marc Monaghan

Elizabeth Strauss, a Hyde Park resident, started the day making blankets alongside her two sons six-year-old Sebastian and eight-year-old Adrian Arreguin.

“I just want to help,” said Adrian Arreguin, who added that volunteering was a nice way to spend his day off from school.

Louise McCurry, a Hyde Park resident and president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council was also on hand to volunteer on Monday “because of the importance of service embodied by the Obama Foundation. This is one way of being of service to folks in the middle of an incredible record-setting cold winter in Chicago.”

Volunteers could choose between three different stations that included packing sack lunches, comfort kits, or making blankets.

The sack lunches include a sandwich, veggie sticks, and fruit. The comfort kits are essentially personal hygiene kits.

“Our last station is making hygiene kits that are going to be personal gifts people are going to decorate the canvasses [bags] and then fill them with requested toiletries,” said Breeze Fromm-Sarto.

Obama Foundation Event #003 – Sebastian and Adrian Arreguin are assisted by their mother, Elizabeth Strauss, as they make a double layer tied fleece blanket during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event the Obama Foundation’s offices 1538 E 53rd St., Monday, Jan. 15. – Marc Monaghan

The Wicker Park-based HoneyComb Project coordinates volunteer opportunities with families in Chicago communities.

“We have events for people of all ages they [volunteers] come in family units, and they volunteer together,” said Sydney Coyle, program coordinator at the Honeycomb Project. “We do a variety of projects a lot of projects that we do today we do at our events across the city.”

A representative from La Casa Norte at the close of the event picked up the items from the volunteers to distribute those they service.

Monday was also an opportunity for the Obama Foundation to get acquainted with the community. Obama Foundation staff members also volunteered alongside community members at the event.

On Jan. 12, the foundation hosted a mixer celebrating the grand opening of its multi-purpose facility located on the ground floor of Harper Court.

“We’re just excited to promote more opportunities for people to make it easy to serve and give back to the community,” said Breeze Fromm-Sarto, program coordinator at the Honeycomb Project.

t.hill@hpherald.com