Good Neighbors

25th Anniversary of Making MLK Day A Day Of Service

Find out how people are making it a day "on," not a day "off."


Jan. 20, 2020 marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It's the only national holiday that is specifically designated as a National Day of Service, and this year is the 25th anniversary of that designation, whjch celebrates and honors the civil rights leader's legacy. While many people use the day off to relax (nearly half of American employers recognize the holiday), research shows volunteering in your neighborhood not only helps the people in your neighborhood -- it benefits you too!

Here's how some people are making a difference today, and opportunities to take advantage of even after this day is past:

Austin, TX

More than 200 volunteers are participating in the United Way of Williamson County 's "MLK Day of Service." According KVUE-TV , Saturday volunteers picked up trash near Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard in East Austin. There will be plenty more opportunities to get involved, including the organization's Day of Caring in September.

Austinites get ready to hit the streets. Council Member natasha Harper-Madison Facebook page

Indianapolis, IN

Volunteers worked Sunday afternoon filing hundreds of bags with donated food for the needy with the organization " No BOBS " (No Black on Black Slayings). This is CEO Derek Morris' third year organizing the free food giveaway, which is happening today. "We had a dream, started executing it, and then found people just like us in communities, food pantries, and all these people to pull this off," Morris told WTHR-TV . They do giveaways like this all year long, so you can volunteer at any time.

This group of volunteers sorted food for a free giveaway. NoBOBs Facebook page


"Martin Luther King literally gave up his life for not just black people and not just white people, but for everybody to make this country a better place." -- Derek Morris

New York City

Volunteers at Food Bank for New York City will distribute some 1,500 meals and other essentials to people in Harlem and the Bronx today. Volunteers will also prepare and pack food for distribution across the five boroughs. Can't get there today? They need volunteers all year, and since one in five New Yorkers rely on emergency food, there's a definite need!

(Source: Food Bank for New York City Facebook page )

Pittsburgh. PA

In Pittsburgh, the Church of the Holy Cross decided to spread King's message of non-violence by organizing gun buy-back day. The church offered up to $100 per firearm turned in, no questions asked. Because of a larger than expected response, they went through all $5,000 donated to the cause in the first 40 minutes according to KDKA-TV . "We're going to obviously have to do this again," said Rev. Torrey Johnson, who asked the community for donations for future buy-backs.

Announcing the buyback. KDKA-TV

Tacoma, WA

There's free admission today at The Washington State History Museum . If you can't make it today, you'll still want to get there to see the travelling Smithsonian Exhibition "Men of Change" Power. Triumph. Truth." The exhibit highlights revolutionalry African American men from Muhammad Ali to W.E.B DuBois and Kendrick Lamar.

Men of Change exhibit is on view until March 15. Washington State History Museum

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