A local organization is working to make a national holiday into a time for building relationships within the community through volunteerism.

The Newton Community for Racial Justice is coordinating the MLK Day of Service on Jan. 21, 2019, in honor of the life and actions of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sara Dick, co-facilitator of Newton Community for Racial Justice, said the purpose of the event is to get people of all ages involved in volunteering to honor King's legacy and work.

There are several service projects lined up during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and others that will take place later that week.

"We have quite a variety of projects," Dick said. "...There will be something for people who are more physically active and for those who want to sit."

The activities will take the place of the "History Walks" the organization hosted the past two years.

Individuals can volunteer to read books about King and his family for story times taking place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2019, at Newton Public Library, 720 N. Oak. Young children are invited to listen to the stories.

"We need five people to read the stories at story time," Dick said.

More people are needed to work during one of the three three-hour shifts scheduled for tidying up the library.

"If you love books and don't mind dusting or shelving or stamping 'withdrawn' on books, you can help out," Dick said.

Comforter tying will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 21, 2019, at Mennonite Central Committee's facility at 121 E. 30th St. in North Newton. The comforters made by volunteers will be sent to displaced people in places like Jordan, Iraq, Haiti and Ukraine.

Volunteers can also write letters of encouragement to Hutchinson Correctional Facility inmates from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 21, 2019, at Offender/Victim Ministries, 900 N. Poplar, Suite 200 in Newton. The notes will be delivered to HCF on Feb. 14, 2019.

Harvey County RSVP will also be collecting food and hygiene items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan 26, 2019, at both Dillons locations — 1216 N. Main St. and 1410 S. Kansas Ave. Volunteers can sign up for two-hour shifts to aid in collecting the items or choose to help sort and deliver them from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 28, 2019, at the Harvey County Courthouse's Community Room, 800 N. Main St.

Other service projects are in the works. Details will be posted on the Newton Community for Racial Justice's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/newtoncrj). The site also links to a webpage where individuals can claim a spot for a particular service project — a step that is not required, but is helpful for preparing for the respondents at each location, Dick noted.

For more information about the MLK Day of Service, visit mlkday.gov.