Pagoda, who has “adopted” a three-mile stretch of College Drive that he routinely keeps free of trash, pointed out to the volunteers that the service was fitting on the MLK National Day of Service, given that King had been in Memphis, Tennessee, to support sanitation workers the day before his assassination in 1968.
In all, the volunteers, which included members of Lehigh’s men’s lacrosse and cross-country teams and the Development and Alumni Relations office, picked up 500-plus pounds of litter–bottles, bags and other items–as well as car tires, assorted building supplies such as laminate flooring, and an old television.
“It's not just symbolic,” Pagoda said of the effort. “It's something that needs to be done.”
In Christmas-Saucon Annex on the Asa Packer Campus, Rita Jones, director of Lehigh’s Center for Gender Equity, had organized a “no sew” blanket making station for Project Linus. The nonprofit provides handmade blankets to children in the United States who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need.
Jones first heard of Project Linus last year when she was looking for volunteer opportunities. Project Linus no longer has a local chapter, but Jones decided to pitch the idea as a Martin Luther King volunteer project at Lehigh.
“I certainly want to support kids going through a really difficult time, and the idea of something that they could hold onto, I thought, ‘that’s really cute,’” Jones said. “It’s also something that’s really easy for everyone to participate in.”
Jones expected at least two dozen blankets to be made Monday. She planned to drop them off with the chapter that serves Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Carol Hill, director of Student Center Facilities, was among those participating in Project Linus Monday. Hill said she was drawn to the prospect of making no-sew blankets because it’s something that can be produced in a short amount of time but will make a difference for others.
“There’s so much going on with mental health now,” Hill said. “Just knowing this is something that could bring comfort to a child or a teenager going through a really difficult, traumatic time, that was something that was near and dear to my heart.”