Boston Joins Obama’s Day of Service

As part of President Obama’s call for a National Day of Service, hundreds of volunteers came out in the Boston area today for a variety of projects, from soup kitchens to neighborhood cleanups.

In Dorchester, 61-year-old Gerthy Lahens, who walks with a cane and suffers from chronic pain, joined a group picking up trash in Dudley Square.

“If I can do it, who can’t?” she said as she swept cigarette butts and litter into a dustpan. “Dudley needs more attention. I want to make people understand that we care.”

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At the St. Francis House, a day shelter just off Boston Common, a half-dozen volunteers crowded into the kitchen to help prepare meals for the more than 400 clients who rely on the shelter for breakfast and lunch each day.

“It gives you a lot of perspective on what’s going on around you and how much need there is,” said Erica Sorrentino, a 28-year-old researcher at Dana-Farber who was wearing a hairnet and slicing up beets. “It makes you appreciate what you have, and it’s inspired me to continue on volunteering.”

At Cradles to Crayons in Brighton, volunteers sorted and bundled donated clothing and that will be distributed to nonprofits across the state.

The National Day of Service was the kick off to three days of inaugural events, and an estimated 250,000 people nationwide were expected to participate in the event, which also honors the work of Martin Luther King. The President and First Lady spent the morning helping to spruce up a school in Washington D.C.

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