Volunteers help homeless youth in Detroit in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

See where Martin Luther King Jr. spent his final hours 50 years ago
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 17:54:46-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior people around the country and right here in metro Detroit went to work to serve others. It is an annual tradition for so many that this year looks a little different.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges, but as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

At the Detroit Phoenix Center on Woodward Avenue volunteers, while socially distancing, put together resilience kits for homeless children. They are just part of this community project.

“We have 100 volunteers that are serving virtually. And our entire goal for the day is 500 resilience kits. And what is going in the resilience kits is life-sustaining and basic needs that young people need such as PPE, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food items, hats and gloves, school supplies,” said Courtney Smith, Founder, and CEO of the Detroit Phoenix Center.

Smith says this event is being done in partnership with the Presidential Inaugural Committee in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Phoenix Center will take the resilience kits out to homeless youth.

Two brothers volunteering say they feel fortunate to have a safe home, food, and water and are thinking about the work Dr. Martin Luther King Junior did, calling on everyone to work together to fight poverty.

“It is crazy that there are people out who really don’t have who are my age. I am sitting here and I am just shocked. I am like, why can’t every kid have what I got,” said Khalil Johnson.

“It makes me feel really special because I am literally following in his footsteps,” said Drake Johnson.

“It speaks to their character and to how much they too want to be the change they want to see in the world, which is important in the midst of a pandemic where we have all seen the devastating impact,” said Smith. “To be able to be light in the midst of so much going on in the world, it is heartwarming.”

If you feel inspired to give the Phoenix Center is always accepting donations of things of hygiene products, food, and other items that youth fighting homelessness need to get by. You can learn more at