RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Community members throughout Central Virginia celebrated the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday as part of his namesake holiday.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the third Monday of January every year. On Aug. 23, 1994, Bill Clinton’s signature made it an official national holiday. It is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

In honor of King’s memory, the Delta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alphas Sorority Inc., along with the Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., held a community donation in support of the James House.

Organizers told 8News they had collected around 500 items of various essentials like toiletries and non-perishables.

“We are a service organization,” said Green-Vasquez, chairperson for public relations at the Delta Omega Chapter. “And this is what we do, we serve our community. And wherever we find a need, this is where we provide the service to give back to the community. And what better day to do it than Martin Luther King Day?” 

Jimmie Spragans, the president of the Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha said that even though Monday was a national day of service, the Divine Nines are always playing their part.  

“We do this thing on an annual basis,” Spragans said. “We love community engagement. That’s what this is all about.”

In other parts of the Commonwealth, communities celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. King. Henrico County hosted the 37th annual commemoration at Henrico High School.

The event also featured various scholarship recipients being recognized.

“We are committed to keeping the legacy of Dr. King alive the legacy of non-violence,” said the event’s keynote speaker — Cpt. Janice G. Smith, Chief of Staff for Military Sealift Command. “His legacy of justice, his legacy of service, but most importantly, his legacy of universal love for the beloved community.”