PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

It's a 'Day On' for Volunteerism in Illinois

MLK Day of Service events often inspire volunteers to continue helping others in their communities. (Urban Promise)
MLK Day of Service events often inspire volunteers to continue helping others in their communities. (Urban Promise)
January 20, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- From young students to business professionals, today, Illinoisans from all walks of life will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to their communities.

This is the 25th anniversary of MLK Day as a National Day of Service, which encourages Americans to observe the holiday as "a day on, not a day off." Scott McFarland, executive director of Serve Illinois, said hundreds of service projects are scheduled around the state.

"Illinois was the first state to recognize Dr. King's birthday as a holiday. And over 40 years later, now we're celebrating as a country and honoring his service through a day of service," McFarland said. "We'll have thousands of people going out and volunteering in their communities."

Serve Illinois also recognizes people and for-profit businesses through the annual Governor's Volunteer Service Awards. Nominations are due by February 21, and a ceremony will be held April 21 in Springfield.

And because it sometimes takes money to make a difference, Serve Illinois provides grants each year to select MLK Day service projects. McFarland said this year's grants will support 20 organizations.

"A lot of them are dealing with revitalizing schools. Since the kids will be out, we'll have a whole bunch of groups going in and repainting and refurbishing," he said. "We have other projects that are working with our food pantries, community cleanups, and the list just goes on."

McFarland noted the MLK Day of Service often becomes a catalyst for future volunteerism.

"In Illinois throughout the year, about 2.8 million of us volunteer," he said. "And a lot of us get that first kind of taste of what volunteerism could be through these days of service. And once somebody volunteers one time, they keep coming back, which is what we want."

Illinoisans can search for local volunteer opportunities on the website

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL