MONROE — How did City of Monroe Councilwoman Angelia James spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day? She rose early and gathered with volunteers to host a teacher appreciation drive thru at The Spot restaurant (1513 Concord Ave.).

James and Ulunda Baker co-organized a drive thru event where educators could pick up gift bags filled with donations from members of the community and local businesses. Baker is on the Board of Directors for the Community Shelter of Union County.

Beginning at 9 a.m., a steady stream of cars lined up. Educators from local elementary, middle and high schools flashed their school ID’s as volunteers handed them a gift bag.

The bags were filled with hand sanitizer, key chain fobs, water bottles, snacks, gift cards and other items. An additional 28 organizations donated to the drive thru as of Friday, Jan. 15, according to the Union County NC Teacher Appreciation Facebook page.

On Dec. 28, 815 donations had been collected by through a combination of about 50 individuals and local businesses. At that time, over 400 teachers, teacher assistants and support staff expressed an interest in receiving a gift bag.