Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Make it a Day ON, Not a Day Off! There are many ways you can participate in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. You can join a project already planned in your community; you can develop your own project with family, friends, and neighbors; or if you work for an organization that mobilizes volunteers, you can make King Day the day you join forces with them and train new volunteers to be deployed throughout the year.

Legislation signed in 1983 marked the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Here are some ideas on how you can mobilize your chapter, family, friends and loved ones to mobilize on MLK Jr. Day and serve your community.

Host discussions about:
Dr. King’s life and teachings
Dr. King’s principles of nonviolence
Community challenges and ways to address them

Passive Service Projects:
Writing a letter to a loved one
Design a greeting card to send to those who are ill
Visit a loved one who has been having a difficult time

Provide Food Assistance:
Serve meals at a homeless shelter
Create a bag of non-perishable snacks to hand to a homeless person you may see while driving
Bring meals to homebound neighbors
Organize a food donation drive
Teach healthy eating on a budget

Improve Children’s Quality of Life:
Volunteer to babysit the children of a mom/dad in need of time to herself/himself
Devise craft projects for children in hospitals

Provide Assistance to Families and Neighbors:
Shovel elderly neighbors’ walkways, clear leaves or help with other yard maintenance
Participate in or create a neighborhood watch program
Improve Health Outcomes:
Donate Blood or Bone Marrow
Attend a community health fair
Spend the day educating yourself of health outcomes affecting your community

Beautify the Community:
Adopt a highway to assist with community cleanup
Spend the day cleaning up litter in a park

Keep the Community Connected:
Create online and offline community discussion forums. Get residents signed up for the online discussion and informed about the time and location of the offline version.
Teach neighbors how to surf the Internet and use email
Develop your own ideas by considering your community’s particular needs


Corporation for National & Community Service

National Governing Council President

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