Washington Gives planned for Monday

Residents of Washington will come together Monday to commemorate the life, works, and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Washington Gives, a day of service, will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Washington Depot.

The day of service observed around the country is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems and move individuals closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “beloved community.”

“Washington Gives is a town-wide initiative to engage families, friends, and neighbors in civic initiatives including collections, service projects, and information sessions,” said Lisa Stein, president of the Washington Business Association.

The event, launched last year, provides activities for all ages in Washington Depot.

“To our knowledge, Washington is one of few towns in the state that brings schools, businesses, and charitable organizations together for this national day of service,” said selectwoman Michelle Gorra.

“We feel the partnerships and connections that bring this event together are what makes Washington an exceptional place to live, work, and play,” she said.

Beginning at 10 a.m., local organizations, including Aspetuck Animal Hospital, The Washington Food Market, Five Janes (formerly Newbury Place) and the First Congregational Church will collect donations of clothing and household items in Bryan Plaza.

Accepted donations will include non-perishable food; packaged pet food; unopened paper goods, including cups, plates, napkins and utensils; new or gently used sheets, blankets, sleeping bags, socks, and hand warmers; un-opened cleaning supplies, including paper towels, sponges, dish soap, laundry soap; and men’s outerwear and clothing.

The collection site will close at 1 p.m.

The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens will play host to several offerings from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

ASAP!, the Region 12 School District, the Shepaug Student Project Foundation and Conversations on the Green will present “The Future of Service in Our Community,” featuring students from Shepaug Valley School who will host small projects related to fostering creativity in kids, addressing environmental challenges, driving awareness of health and wellness issues, inspiring kindness and inclusion in schools and addressing social stigmas.

Jane Whitney, former NBC News correspondent and talk show host, will moderate a 45-minute conversation with local students who strengthen the community at 1:15 p.m. at the park.

The Washington Art Association will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to paint “Hearts of Hope” for the Susan B Anthony Project.

Letters to the troops will be penned with the “Town Hall Gang” during this time as well.

The public is invited to make birdhouse kits at Steep Rock Association’s office above Hickory Stick Bookshop at 2 Green Hill Road.

Other offerings will include free community meditation at 10:30 a.m. and a free yoga class at noon at Valley Spirit Wellness Center and tours of Washington Ambulance at Valley Spirit.

This year’s event will culminate with a celebration of volunteers hosted by selectmen Jim Brinton, Gorra, and Jay Hubelbank to be held at the Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

“Volunteers from all of Washington’s town commissions and organizations are invited to attend,” Gorra said.

Light refreshments and entertainment will be provided and each attendee will receive a special gift from the community.

The town-wide volunteer recognition event is coordinated in partnership with ASAP!, The Judy Black Memorial Park and Gardens, Pilobolus, Sing Out! CT, the board of selectmen and the Washington Business Association.

Volunteers are asked to RSVP to http://bit.ly/RSVPWashingtonGivesVolunteerRecognition.

Event sponsors include Aspetuck Animal Hospital, the Hickory Stick Bookshop, The Hen’s Nest, William Pitt Sotheby’s, and private donors.