Ideas for Your MLK Day, the National Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service (MLK Day) is the only federal holiday that (since 1994) is also designated by Congress as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”  Service could mean a clean-up of trash in your neighborhood, helping out at a food pantry, or sewing catnip toys for shelter pets. Given Omicron’s current numbers, service could also take on virtual forms such as sending a meal through a meal delivery service, serving as a virtual mentor, or donating money to a charitable cause to help those who lack basic essential items.

If you have chosen to stay local this year and not use your day to hit the ski slopes, here are a few local ideas for your weekend. You can also top off your MLK service day with the 20th Annual MLK Day celebrations at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (please note that proof of vaccination is now required at the MFA).

Boston Cares:  Boston Cares hosts a Community Weekend of virtual opportunities focused on ways to serve and improve the community through educational opportunities, discussions about community issues, volunteer training, and remote service.  You can sign up for multiple training/workshops/information sessions here.

Discovery Museum, Acton. Small Acts, Big Impact. Teach your kids to be contributing members of their community. Assemble no-sew beds and create simple toys for local shelter animals. Make a birthday card and help collect “Birthday-in-a-Box” supplies to support two local charities whose missions are to create special birthday moments for children who are experiencing homelessness or who are in the hospital on their birthdays. More information and hours here.

Watch CDC Waltham: This is a hyper-local organization in Waltham that offers ESL classes, help in low-cost housing, and other community services. Get involved in the long-term or get involved tomorrow, January 13 by dropping off gently-used winter coats that will be distributed to needy families this Saturday. If you have winter coats but no way of getting them to Waltham, please contact the Owl at for pick-up. More information here.

Just Serve: This is a national organization that matches volunteers and opportunities. Put in a zip code, and see what’s available in your area. More information here.


There are many organizations looking for volunteers, both virtual and in-person, and donations. If you have a suggestion, please get in touch with the Owl. Get involved and give back.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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