National day of service provides volunteer opportunities

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | 6:29 p.m. CST; updated 4:40 p.m. CST, Sunday, January 18, 2009

COLUMBIA — While much of the country will be focused on the presidential inauguration, President-elect Barack Obama is attempting to redirect some of that focus to Martin Luther King Jr. Day by calling for a national day of service on Monday.

This day of service also marks the official launch of "Renew America Together," an initiative launched by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and based at

Since the Web site launched, 8,500 service events have been registered, 17 of which are taking place in Columbia.

The local events — which include helping senior citizens and veterans in need, working on a Habitat for Humanity house and distributing energy-saving light bulbs — are posted on and are taking place at various times throughout the weekend and on Monday. Visitors to the Web site can sign up for each event and find important details such as location and contact information.

Renew America Together, through, is intended to provide a destination for service organizations to raise awareness about their activities and volunteer opportunities and, for those interested in volunteering, a way to discover and sign up for those events. While the national day of service is the current focus, the program will continue to help encourage and engage communities in service activities, according to the Web site.

Those interested in taking part can go to Columbia events can be found by clicking on “Find an Event” and entering a zip code.

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