Laurie Ferguson of Tanglez Hair Salon in Saco combs Brianna Shapleigh’s hair at First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Saco Monday. Free haircuts were being offered as part of the church’s annual “Not a Day Off, But a Day On” event .

Laurie Ferguson of Tanglez Hair Salon in Saco combs Brianna Shapleigh’s hair at First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Saco Monday. Free haircuts were being offered as part of the church’s annual “Not a Day Off, But a Day On” event .

SACO — The legacy of late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated Monday in Saco and Biddeford as organizations honored his life by helping others on the national holiday commemorating his birthday.

Bob and Sharon, who declined to give their last names, of Old Orchard Beach look at a rack of used clothing at First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Saco Monday.

Bob and Sharon, who declined to give their last names, of Old Orchard Beach look at a rack of used clothing at First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Saco Monday.

In Saco, First Parish Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, hosted its eighth annual “Not a Day Off, But a Day On” event, during which it offered a host of free services to the public, including haircuts, health screenings and chiropractic adjustments.

Food was served, and toiletries, underwear, used clothing and books were available. There was also a reading room, and the church was offering use of its laundry and shower facilities.

The event pays homage to King’s legacy of non-violence and helping others, said Kris Galasyn, director of Christian Education for Children and Youth as well as founder and organizer of “Not a Day Off, But a Day On.”

Galasyn said the event attracted 110 people last year. About two hours into the event Monday, more than 60 participants had come through the doors, she said.

Local teenagers were also working on service projects at community organizations in Saco, Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach as part of the event.

Rev. Douglas Nielsen said he saw eight people walking to the church in the snow as he drove in this morning. He said the event honors the church’s mission of putting faith into action.

Biddeford resident Brianna Shapleigh, who was getting her hair cut from stylist Laurie Ferguson at the church, goes to the event every year.

“I got some warm clothing, books, stuff I need for the winter,” she said.

In Biddeford, the community arts organization Engine also hosted a celebration of King’s life.

Staff and volunteers worked with children on quilted banners portraying the Underground Railroad, a tree of life and African Adinkra symbols depicting peace, unity, love and patience.

The day also included songs, music, discussions on King’s life and showings of movies about King.

“We really wanted to do something hands-on with kids,” said Toni Truesdale, an artist and volunteer at Engine.

Truesdale said this was the first event of its kind hosted by Engine, and organizers hoped to make it an annual event.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]


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