The MLK Day of Service is today (just in case you’ve lost all sense of time and space) and instead of publishing a brunch guide or giving you recommendations on how to spend the day the day off, we wanted to highlight some volunteering opportunities. Best case scenario, we’d be volunteering all year round, helping people clean up parks, mentor youth and donating to the homeless, but if its been awhile since you did a little charity work, this is a great place to start.
Thursday Network and Serve DC’s Blanket & Toiletries Drive: One of the biggest volunteer opportunities available, Thursday Network and Serve DC are looking for people to donate a variety of food, hygiene products and home goods. You can purchase items from their Amazon wish list, drop items off at their headquarters, or stop by their service event on Monday. And speaking of the actual service event, if you have time on Monday they’ll be assembling care packages and making sandwiches for the homeless at the Franklin D. Reeves Center. They’re also looking for drivers to distribute the packages if you can volunteer your car or your Car2Go membership.
Rock Creek Conservancy: There are a multitude of ways you can volunteer to help keep Rock Creek park and clean and safe place for everyone who lives in D.C. Whether you’d rather be removing invasive vines or cleaning up trash, there’s something you can do to help. Our amazing parks are what set D.C. apart from other cities, but I don’t have to tell you that.
ConSERVE DC: From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. the Student Conservation Association is throwing a huge clean up of the Anacostia. You’ll be clearing the shoreline of trash and invasive species, so get ready to roll around in the mud (nope) and wrestle with alligators (also not true). In all seriousness though, prepare to get a little bit dirty.
Pope Branch Park: Want to mix it up and branch out from volunteering at Rock Creek? Hit up the Pope Branch Park to help them clear out invasive plants and remove trash. They’ll be cleaning and clearing from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., so this is best suited for (kind of) early risers.
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: Like most of the other outdoor volunteering efforts, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are looking for people to clear ivy and remove trash from the gardens. Enjoy some killer pond and marsh views while you volunteer.
WABA: Our favorite local biking association is coming together to help clean up the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Their main focus is clearing the the Rhode Island ravine and spiffing up the Change Gears mural, but they have a couple different levels of work depending on the amount of physical labor your capable / interested in doing.
City Year: More interested on working inside? City Year is focusing on making schools a more engaging place for students of all ages all year long, but they’ve got plenty of opportunities to help on MLK Day. Activities this year will involve painting murals, making packages and leading some youth workshops, so there’s a variety of options depending on your skill set.
EDCJCC: Similar to City Year, EDCJCC is focusing on brightening up schools in D.C. This year, they’ll be decorating and cleaning up an elementary school in NE. They’ll supply the paint and brushes, but a $20 donation toward supplies is appreciated.
Peace Walk & Parade: Join the Anacostia Community Museum for their 12th annual peace walk. The walk begins at noon at 2500 MLK Ave SE and ends at the Barry Farm Recreation Center, so you have a little time to volunteer with one of the above organizations before the walk (or after).
Need more volunteering options? Want to do stuff all year round? Check out the guides below.