Vols come out for Southold’s first ‘Dr. King Day of Service’

01/19/2015 4:15 PM |
Southold Elementary teacher Patty Mellas helps students Ben Ward, Aidan Russell, both 11, and Tate Klipstein, 10, pack care packages for veterans. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Southold Elementary teacher Patty Mellas helps students (from left) Ben Ward and Aidan Russell, both 11, and Tate Klipstein, 10, pack care packages for veterans. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Dozens of volunteers used their time off from work or school on Martin Luther King Day to participate in a number of community service projects across town.

A first for the Southold Youth Bureau, the Dr. King Day of Service event paired volunteers with a number of service organizations that were in need of helping hands.

“What a better way to spend your day off than helping others,” said Susan Esposito, who was volunteering with longtime friend Nancy Taylor at San Simeon by the Sound Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Monday morning.

The two transported residents from their rooms to physical therapy and back, assisting about 20 patients in all.

“It was just nice to chit-chat with them, and see how they were doing,” Ms. Taylor said, noting that she had once worked at the Greenport facility at the reception desk. “What a nice reminder of that time, and it was just a three-hour commitment.”

The two agreed that the event is a great way to connect organizations with residents who want to help but are already juggling hectic schedules.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell and town employees Michelle Tomaszewski and Lauren Standish were also found visiting with seniors at the center, where they talked with residents over lunch.

Mr. Russell bounced from one table to the next, talking family and hobbies and listening to war stories from the elders.

At the Southold Recreation Center on Peconic Lane, Cutchogue East Elementary sixth-graders could be seen cutting burlap that will soon be used by biologists from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County for an eelgrass restoration project in the Peconic estuary.

Sherryl Jones, a volunteer with the Peconic Estuary Program, showed the students how to measure and cut circles out of the burlap and press holes in the fabric so that live eelgrass plants could one day be threaded through.

Across the auditorium, members of the youth bureau were decorating boxes for North Fork Animal Welfare League with the help of event organizer Phillip Beltz. The boxes are being placed at area businesses to collect food for the shelter animals and other animals in need around town.

Southold Elementary students could be seen working busily nearby, helping pack 50 handmade bags full of toiletries and letters with well-wishes to veterans as part of a Adopt-A-Platoon program organized by Brookhaven Veterans Association team leader Bob Duffin.

The students spent several weeks leading up to the holiday collecting donations of soaps, toothbrushes and other similar items at the Oaklawn Avenue school to fill each of the bags.

“The veterans will be returning in a month,” Mr. Duffin said.

During the same time, North Fork United Methodist Church in Cutchogue benefited from several volunteers who helped Pastor Thomas McCloud move the organization’s food pantry from the basement to another building behind the church.

Special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz helps youth bureau members decorate donation boxes for the North Fork Animal Welfare League.

Special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz helps youth bureau members decorate donation boxes for North Fork Animal Welfare League.

Sixth graders Lauren Onufrak,11, Emma Olsen, 11, and Myah Orlowski, 12, prepare burlap disks for Cornell researchers.

Sixth-graders (from left) Lauren Onufrak,11, Emma Olsen, 11, and Myah Orlowski, 12, prepare burlap disks for Cornell researchers.

Supervisor Scott Russell (right) speaks with San Simeon resident Barbara Yagle, 75, and her husband Jim, 79 of Cutchogue, who stopped to have lunch with his wife.

Supervisor Scott Russell (right) speaks with San Simeon resident Barbara Yagle, 75, and her husband Jim, 79, of Cutchogue, who stopped to have lunch with his wife.

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