Dozens and dozens of tiny little red hats lined the table. Hundreds of plastic grocery sacks were sliced and rolled into large balls of “plarn,” or plastic yarn. There was a faint, fishy smell to 100 recycled Styrofoam-type seafood boxes donated to become bad weather shelter for feral cats. Across the city, homes without smoke detectors are retrofitted with the simple life-saving devices. Hundreds of volunteers banded together Jan. 13 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make these and other projects come to life. In all, Bennion Center student leader Bryan Luu coordinated 11 different projects community partners identified as priorities.

“I really wanted to bring people together to serve, even if it’s just for a day,” Luu explained. An engineering major, Luu connected students and community members with people in need. Volunteers spent the morning creating craft kits for hospitalized children, conducted vision screening training for community volunteers and cleaned at The Road Home shelter. They crocheted plastic sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness and wove tiny red hats for newborns with heart conditions and other ailments.

“Times are different now than they were in Dr. King’s day but there are still a lot of social issues that the community is facing,” Bryan said. He believes there’s still a need for community service. “It helps provide people with the hope and belief that there is a community that cares about them.”

Service by the numbers:

  • 237 volunteers
  • 711 hours
  • 249 craft kits for Primary Children’s Hospital
  • 18 people certified as vision screeners for Friends for Sight
  • 1000 pots washed at Red Butte Gardens
  • 200 bags of donations sorted at The Road Home
  • 71 baby hats knitted
  • 34 balls of plarn made for Bags to Beds
  • 149 Thank you cards made for military members
  • Spice Kitchen Incubator deep cleaned