MLK Day of Service and Learning

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019 will be celebrated as “A Day of Learning and Service for All Ages” on Monday, Jan. 21, at the First Presbyterian Union Church located at Temple Street and North Avenue in Owego.  

January 2019 is the 90th anniversary of the birth of Dr. King, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, civil rights activist and preacher. Boy Scout Troop 38 is participating in this event. The public is invited, especially children and youth accompanied by adult family members, on this national holiday.

The day will start at 11 a.m. with an intergenerational project of making hygiene kits to help in disaster relief efforts and school kits to help children needing basic resources for learning. Church World Service (CWS), the ecumenical relief agency supported by Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans and many other Christians, will distribute these kits. Donations of items needed (see lists below) to help make these kits and/or financial donations to buy the items are welcome.

A simple lunch of pizza, hot dogs and veggie trays will be offered at 12:15 p.m. The lunch is free with donations welcome. 

At 1 p.m. there will be two free movies: the Academy Award-winning movie “Selma” for adults and older youth and the Disney movie “Ruby Bridges” for children and youth. 

“Selma” is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel,Hosea Williams, and John Lewis. The actors are David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as LBJ, Tim Roth as George Wallace, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, and Common as Bevel. A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote, “Even if you think you know what’s coming, Selma hums with suspense and surprise. Packed with incident and overflowing with fascinating characters, it is a triumph of efficient, emphatic cinematic storytelling.”

“Ruby Bridges” is a Disney film of the true story of the six year-old African American girl who alone desegregated the William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” shows Ruby Bridges being escorted by four deputy marshals with a vandalized wall behind them. 

On July 15, 2011, Bridges met with President Barack Obama at the White House, and while viewing the Norman Rockwell painting of her on display the president told her, “I think it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here and we wouldn’t be looking at this together.”  

See painting at

Donations for items needed for kits on MLK Day service project are welcome. Donated new items can be left at the church office at 111 Temple St. and financial donations (note MLK Day on check memo line) sent to that same address. Hygiene kits: hand towels measuring approximately 15″ x 28″ to 16″ x 32″ (no fingertip, bath, dish towel or micro-fiber); washcloths; wide-tooth comb; fingernail or toenail clipper; bath-size bar of soap in the wrapper; toothbrush in the package and standard size Band-Aids.

Additional information about this event is available from the church office by calling 687-1682 or by email to

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