'When they do something for somebody else, this light comes on'

AUBURN, Wash. - It's a day off school and work for many people because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but many people are choosing to spend the day giving back.

Debbie Christian, who heads up the Auburn Food Bank, helped coordinate a service project with an AmeriCorps student who was worried that kids who normally get free meals at Washington Elementary would not get those meals Monday because there's no school.

So Christian told him, "If you make it happen on the school side, I'll make it happen on the food bank side, and we'll bring in the cook and the food and we'll make breakfast and lunch."

She adds, "We've just run with it and made it happen."

Then they needed some volunteers to serve and clean up, so they called on the Miss Auburn Scholarship Pageant and asked for contestants and others involved in the program to come help. Soon they had more than enough people to pull it off.

Christian told KOMO News, "I'm pretty excited about this because it's something we've never done."

She says teaching kids to give back and serve others is really about giving them a gift.

"When they start doing something for somebody else, this light comes on, and they feel better and they're happier," she says.

She adds that getting kids to be "service-minded" early in life is key.

"It makes a difference in their world, besides the difference it's making in the people they're touching," says Christian. "And when kids start now, they'll continue for life."