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The Best Ways to Celebrate MLK Day as a Day of Service With Kids

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on January 17, is almost here and there’s no better way to honor the iconic civil rights leader than to participate in community service with your kids. As King said in his famous “Drum Major Instinct” speech at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.”

Yes, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and volunteer work looks very different these days — as the Omicron variant grows amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming more difficult to donate your time in person. However, help is still needed and fortunately, nonprofit and community organizations have spent months figuring out how to utilize volunteers in a safer way. Some of these opportunities can be executed in person while remaining socially distanced; others allow kids and parents to work on home projects while there are plenty of virtual deeds to go around. 

What we have here is a mere starting point. Be sure to check in with your local community to see what volunteer opportunities might be happening in your neighborhood.


AmeriCorps, “the only federal agency for community service and volunteerism,” is spreading the love with a long list of ideas for giving back. On its website, users can find opportunities like serving food to the homeless population, donating gently-used clothing, or participating in beach clean-ups, by simply plugging in a zip code.

Marcus Books

What better way to educate your kid about the legacy of Dr. King and support a Black-owned business than to purchase a children’s book from Marcus Books? According to the website, the store has even hosted appearances by Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Ali, to name a few icons. Peruse the selection of children’s stories at Marcus Books or check out this list of children’s books that honor the civil rights leader.

One Warm Coat

The website allows people to find coat drives all across the country. According to the organization, demand for coat donations in many communities has increased by an average of 50 percent amid the COVID-19 crisis. Want to make your impact greater? You and your kids can call and text friends, family, and neighbors to find coats (in good condition) to donate and help deliver them to a collection site.

Project Giving Kids

Project Giving Kids is another great kid-focused site that connects families to projects ranging from going grocery shopping for seniors to making homemade cards sent with shoe donations for children in need.

Doing Good Together

Doing Good Together has a search portal for family-friendly volunteer opportunities, suggestions for projects to do at home and resources for becoming an anti-racist family.

Add some of these great children’s books by Black authors and illustrators to your kids’ shelves.

Childrens books black authors

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