Columbia, SC (WLTX) - In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill that also made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day a National Day of Service.
All around the Midlands, people took their day off to give back.
Dozens of volunteers gathered at Earlewood Park in Columbia to help clean up the Smith Branch River.
"The Smith Branch flows into the Broad River, that's part of our drinking water here in Columbia," says Bill Stangler, Congaree Riverkeeper. "We want to make sure that we get some trash out so that we don't have to drink plastic bags and cans later on."
People of all ages helped to clean up the area.
Just getting started, but we've found a big tire already," says Michael Desautels, volunteering with the cleanup.
"In addition to people helping out, it's really important that people recognize the pollution problems that we have in our community," says Stangler. "As we walk through this stream, we're pulling out a bunch of plastic bags. It's a real problem."
In Irmo, volunteers helped the Sharing God's Love organization organize supplies for people in need.
"Everyone has a way that they can help, whether it's prayer, one can of soup, cleaning out your pantry, cleaning out your children's clothing," says Shari Selke, executive director at Sharing God's Love. "Anything that you use every day, Sharing God's Love can use."
The organization helps people living in the Irmo area with food, clothing and utility assistance.
On Monday, members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. helped sort items and pack bags for families.
"It just means so much to give back to a community in which I live, to have hands on experiences with others," says Kaci Greene, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s Irmo Chapter. "It's about community and you don't want to be out here doing something by yourself. I think that's what the sorority is about. We all get together, we come into the community and do something that's going to benefit someone else."
This is the 24th year of the national event. However, volunteers say they are looking forward to giving back throughout the year.