LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Unions, civil rights groups, and community organizations took that to heart Monday by volunteering at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY.

Volunteers of all ages spent their day off from work and school to help their community, marking the legacy of service left behind by Dr. King.

“Three years ago, we did our first Martin Luther King Day to remember the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his contributions to the United States, the Civil Rights movement, and to the union movement,” said Mark Emanatian, Executive Director of the Capital District Area Labor Federation, “and we wanted to do a day of service, which is what the holiday was originally set up for.”

Deborah Brown-Johnson, President of the Albany branch of the NAACP, shares in the belief that Monday should be a day on, not off.

“If we really are going to recognize his life and his life work, if we understand the need that all people should have access to quality education, food, housing, healthcare, if we understand that and believe in that, then all of our work should be in service of others,“ Brown-Johnson said.

She added that it shouldn’t end with the holiday.

“Service is needed throughout the year, if we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, and that we care about our fellow man, we should be out ensuring that everyone has access to what they need,” she said.

Volunteers filled boxes with dry goods and snacks, sorted through pantry items, and inspected produce for freshness. Items at the Regional Food Bank are for distribution to charitable agencies serving the hungry and disadvantaged in 23 counties.

You can go on the Regional Food Bank’s website to see where they need help. There are volunteer shifts available through March that you can sign up for, and you can also put in a request to volunteer as a group.