The MLK Day of Service is on Monday (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’s 19th Annual Blanket & Toiletries Drive: One of the biggest volunteer opportunities available, Thursday Network is looking for people to donate a variety of food, hygiene products and home goods. You can donate money, drop items off at their headquarters, or stop by their service event on Monday. And speaking of the actual service event, join them in assembling care packages at the Rocketship Rise Academy. Their goal is to 1,200 packages to people in D.C., Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.
Rock Creek Conservancy: While the Conservancy usually focuses their efforts on providing some much needed TLC to, you guessed it, Rock Creek Park, the government shutdown has shaken things up. Instead, they’ve organized trash cleanups in neighborhoods surrounding the park, including Randolph Hills, Normanstone, Ingleside Terrace, Peirce Mill, Piney Branch Parkway, Melvin Hazen Park and the Beret Neighborhood Conservation Area. They’ll also have a pre-MLK Day clean up near the Carter Barron amphitheater.
Anacostia Riverkeeper: If you don’t mind getting a little wet, head to Pope Branch Park on Monday for a good old fashioned waterways cleanup. Anacostia Riverkeeper will provide all necessary supplies and they’ll be out there rain or shine, so there’s no excuses.
WABA: Our favorite local biking association is coming together to help clean up the Metropolitan Branch Trail. As usual, they’ll be giving some extra attention to the Rhode Island Avenue ravine, but they’ll also be branching out this year and picking up trash by Monroe Street. If you’re not interested / able to help with the clean up, they also need help placing Spanish, French and Amharic translated stickers on the trail etiquette signs. They’ll have all the materials you need (including gloves and trash grabbers), plus coffee, snacks and bathroom access.
City Year: More interested on working inside? City Year is focusing on sprucing up the neighborhood of Deanwood, including Ron Brown High School, IDEA Public Charter School, Kelly Miller Middle School, and the Deanwood Recreation Center. Activities this year will involve painting murals, kit making, light construction and hosting a resource fair for members of the community, so there’s a variety of options depending on your skill set.
Edlavitch DCJCC: 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 and no previous painting experience is required.
Islamic Relief USA: Join IRUSA and America’s Islamic Heritage Museum in handing out hot meals and beverages to those in need. They’ll also be passing out hot chocolate and coffee to those participating in the Peace Walk & Parade. Volunteering starts at 9:30 a.m., so don’t be late.
Peace Walk & Parade: Become a part of the tradition and Join the 13th annual peace walk! The walk starts at 12 p.m. at the corner of MLK Jr. Ave SE and Good Hope Road SE, 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.