Citizens in Action is an all-volunteer 501©3 organization based in Defiance. Formed in 2009, CIA was founded on the ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

From hands-on programs and projects, along with financial support and partnering with other local organizations, CIA volunteers are dedicated to making a difference and inspiring community spirit by serving Defiance and beyond. The group has created and maintains a core of key programs, however, if a need arises, it has the flexibility to turn attention and effort in that direction. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, many of the organization’s ongoing activities, projects and events have been impacted.

The annual Martin Luther King pancake and sausage breakfast that takes place each January on MLK Day will not be held this year. The MLK scholarship program has been supported in part by the breakfast, with all proceeds going to support the scholarship program.

“Although, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Citizens In Action won’t be able to host the annual MLK pancake breakfast this year, we plan on continuing to honor Dr. King and support the MLK Dream Scholarship as usual, but from home,” stated Kathy Walton, CIA president. “We plan to fire up our griddles at home and make a batch of pancakes and sausage and mail in our scholarship donations. Some traditions don’t have to be broken.”

Donations to the MLK I Have a Dream Scholarship Program may be sent to Citizens in Action, 925 S. Clinton St., postal mailbox 23, Defiance 43512.

Despite the problems currently facing many non-profits, CIA members are keeping local Little Free Libraries stocked and maintained. The LFL are located at Bronson Park, Holgate Park, Brunersburg and Ayersville. In addition, gift cards and holiday meals were provided to Defiance area residents between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. CIA members also signed 300 Christmas cards and delivered them to local assisted living and nursing home residents.

Core programs put on hold since March of 2020 include JR’s Jazzy Joint — children’s activities centered on jazz and music during the annual Defiance Jazz Festival; Parties in a Bag — a project that provides gifts, cake-making supplies and party goods for a small birthday party for Defiance area kids, distributed by the Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission; and the Angel Fund, a school lunch support program.

Additional activities CIA has helped with in previous years include assisting with special events at area education centers and long-term care facilities; providing servers for free summer lunch programs; assisting at the annual Festival of Trees senior citizens’ luncheon and helping with the Adriel foster parents and family appreciation night.

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