Matt Plumb cleans the Chinese memorial gate at Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz on Monday.
(Amber De Vos / For Lookout Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz

‘A day on, not a day off’: Volunteering on MLK Day

Solo and in groups, Santa Cruzans took to heart a day of service to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

On a Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday that saw both rain and sunshine, dozens of Santa Cruz County residents spent part of their day off helping to tidy up area beaches, parks and even a cemetery.

At Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz, volunteers cleaned grave markers — including the one for London Nelson, a former slave who arrived in the area in the mid-1800s — pulled weeds and cleared walkways. The event, put on by the Museum of Art and History, drew a good crowd, organizers said.

On Main Beach, numerous people and groups spent their morning picking up trash and other debris. One group that participated was Girl Scout Troop 15020. Leader Danielle Obinger said her troop started its day on the sand for MLK Day and ended it with a donation of blankets and troop funds to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter as part of the Betty White Challenge.

Other events included spring planting preparations at the Homeless Garden Project farm on the Westside and a trail maintenance event at DeLaveaga Park. And, during the evening, the Santa Cruz Bible Church hosted a Zoom panel discussion on critical race theory.

Members of Troop 15020 pose during the MLK Day Main Beach cleanup.
Members of Troop 15020 pose during the MLK Day Main Beach cleanup.
(Courtesy Danielle Obinger)