Days of service: Community comes out to to celebrate presidential inauguration
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Over the weekend, Shepherdstown was a flurry of activity, as community members gathered together to celebrate the upcoming presidential inauguration with acts of service.
John Meeker, of Shepherdstown, spearheaded the organization of two Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service events, which were the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s recommended replacement for less pandemic-friendly celebrations this month. While the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service traditionally takes place on Monday, the events encompassed the entire federal holiday’s extended weekend.
The longest event was the Gently Used Coat and New Sock Drive for the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, held Friday through Monday in front of the Scarborough Library. The other event, a Window Parade for Canterbury Center, took place on Saturday afternoon.
“They’re stuck in their rooms, 24/7. They don’t get to see anyone — it’s really bad for them,” Meeker said of the Canterbury Center residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Anything to add a little brightness in these dark times!”
According to Meeker, the events were inspired by suggestions from his friends. At the recommendation of Canterbury Center’s activities director, his friend, Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church Director of Campus Ministry and Youth Programs Morgan Sell, had held a Christmas parade around Canterbury Center in December, which inspired Saturday’s parade.
“It was nice to do something nice for the residents. You could tell they were very happy to see us,” Sell said on Saturday, as she joined in on her second window parade. “It was so nice to lift their spirits!
“When I saw John was doing this, I was so happy!” Sell said. “A lot of people can’t get to their doors and come outside. When a nursing home’s all one unit like this, you can really reach a lot of people in a short amount of time with a window parade.”
Just as with the Christmas parade, Saturday’s parade featured the participants joining together in song, accompanied by the sound of tambourines, maracas and Shepherdstown School of Music owner Sam Jannotta’s guitar.
According to Sell, joining in with a Day of Service event was a way for her and her fellow parade-goers to start out the new presidential term right.
“Anything we can do now to unite the people who are looking for hope and community-driven action!” Sell said. “Right now with COVID, we are essentially all in our own little bubbles. Because of this, it’s important to think of others. Walking parades around nursing homes provide a safe way to reach out to your community.”
One final Day of Service in Jefferson County was planned by Jefferson County Democrats — a fundraiser and food drive in Ranson on Monday afternoon for Jefferson County’s food banks.
“Our goal is to harness our collective efforts to make a large positive impact in our community,” the Jefferson County Democrats website said. “Thank you for your help making this happen!”