Bay Area residents turned out in droves Monday to honor the late Martin Luther King Jr.
Monday marked the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that commemorates King's life and legacy.
Many used the occasion to volunteer.
In 1994, Congress declared the federal holiday a national day of service to pay tribute to the man who famously said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
In San Francisco, volunteers gathered throughout the city to help with gardening, tree-planting and litter cleanup activities, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Christine Falvey said.
Assemblyman Paul Fong and NBC Bay Area's Cristina Loren worked with volunteers in Santa Clara to clean up and restore the Ulistac Natural Area.
The city of Richmond worked with local organizations to host "Make It a Day ON in Richmond," in which volunteers help cultivate urban farms and school gardens.
"Martin Luther King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be," Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in a statement.
Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians took part in their seventh annual day of volunteerism, spokeswoman Laura Dunn said. Rather than taking a day off for the holiday, employees take part in a "day on" of volunteering.
This year, they will distribute hundreds of coats to those in need at City Team Ministries in Oakland, Dunn said.
Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa called on residents to take part in the numerous volunteer opportunities in his city including food and coat drives, visiting senior citizens, habitat restoration, and pet adoption.
"There's something for everyone," Espinosa said.
Many organizations said they hoped today will be a springboard for service throughout the year, said Doria Robinson, executive director of Urban Tilth, a Richmond-based food and farming organization.
"By working together day in and day out...we can sow the seeds for a better, healthier, and stronger community," Robinson said.
Bay City News