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How to Serve Your Community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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service project ideas martin luther king jr day activities

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a chance for Americans to actively step out in service by following his example. If you’re searching for a way you can make a difference this year, browse these ideas and start organizing your group.


  • Collect nonperishable food items from neighbors, family and friends and donate to your local food bank. Genius Tip: Learn how to plan a successful food drive.
  • Walk around the neighborhood with a garbage bag and pick up trash on the side of the road and beautify any common areas. You can organize volunteers with a simple online sign up.
  • Make care packages for the homeless. Include travel sized toiletries, granola bars and bottled water. Carry them with you in the car to hand out when you have the opportunity.
  • Rake leaves, shovel snow or do housework for elderly or homebound neighbors. You can also consider volunteering at a senior citizen’s community.

Need more ideas? Try this list of 20 service project ideas for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Clubs + Nonprofits

  • Many nonprofit organizations collect gently used items to help neighbors in need. Set up a central collection site and time. You can collect donations such as cookware and home items, blankets and clothing. Recruit volunteers with an online sign up
  • Groups can serve at the Ronald McDonald House to prepare a meal or bake cookies for residents at the house. Genius Tip: Watch how the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte uses SignUpGenius to schedule volunteers.
  • Your book club can collect used magazines, paperbacks and novels to donate to prisons, hospitals, Little Libraries and shelters.
  • Work with a church or nonprofit to organize a community blood drive.  
  • Register and mobilize people to vote with a sign up. You can recruit poll workers for an upcoming spring or special election or help generate awareness for any special causes your group supports.

Plus, use this list of one-time and ongoing community service ideas for more ideas.

Schools + Colleges

  • Older students can volunteer with an afterschool tutoring program, helping local elementary school students with homework. Genius Tip: Make it easy for students to reserve a tutoring slot with an online sign up.
  • College English majors can volunteer to teach English to non-native speakers in the area.
  • Elementary school students can raise awareness for causes that help other children by holding a book or coat drive or starting a penny war among classes to raise money for a favorite cause.

Check out more ideas for college students, teens and elementary kids. At SignUpGenius, we see every day how well-organized groups change the world. Serve with your group on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and make a difference one person at a time.

Organize Volunteers

Posted by CG Kennedy

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