The Gardens were buzzing with more than 300 volunteers on Martin Luther King Day of Service, Monday, January 17, 2011. “This is by far the largest number of volunteers that have come together on one day in The Gardens,” said Bruce Cobbledick, President of the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt.

Tora Rocha, Park Supervisor, Oakland Public Works, spearheaded the MLK Day of Service in the Gardens and in Lakeside Park. It was an outstanding effort and a milestone in the Gardens’ history.

Organizations serving in the Gardens and around the Lake on Monday to plant trees, weed, rake, and shovel, are:

  • Service for Peace
  • JusticeCorps
  • Urban ReLeaf
  • The Sierra Club
  • Grateful Deadheaders
  • The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt

Mayor Jean Quan, Councilwoman Nancy Nadel, and Barbara Lee’s office were on hand to share gratitude with the volunteers for demonstrating their commitment to community and to honoring Dr. King’s legacy.

A day’s effort of good, hard work was rewarded with breakfast foods and lunch, provided by volunteers and Oakland Parks and Recreation.

Thank you Whole Foods Oakland for the cases of fresh fruit and Peets Coffee for beverages.

Visit the Gardens soon to see what can be accomplished when people join together as a “Beloved Community.”

“This was the best MLK event we’ve had yet. I hope the Gardens will be a yearly MLK projects so we can come back!” – Dan Siskind, Bay Area JusticeCorps Coordinator

For additional coverage and photos of the event, please see