January 16, 2023 marks the 37th year that we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr Day. We’re sure you are aware of this federal holiday that is observed on the 3rd Monday of the month to mark his birth but are you aware that it is also known as the National Day of Service?
A National Day of Service means “a day on, not off” where we are encouraged to participate in acts of service in our communities. Acts of service that can promote meaningful change just as Martin Luther King, Jr did in his short time on Earth.
Acts of service help empower and strengthen communities. They knock down barriers and help bridge the gaps between different members within the community. These acts of service don’t have to be grand gestures or involve a lot of time or money but the effort you put forth towards acts of service will be returned to you tenfold. There really is no greater feeling than knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life.
We’ve rounded up some ways you can celebrate this upcoming day of service and of course, encourage you to focus on giving back to your community more than just one day out of the year.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities - RMHC Richmond offers several different programs and services you can volunteer for that all strive to help families during the most difficult and challenging times. They are always looking for volunteers at their physical locations but also have an ongoing wish list where you can donate items in need or monetary donations.
- Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity - Habitat for Humanity offers safe and affordable housing, facilitates home ownership and helps to break the cycle of poverty. You don’t have to know anything about building a house to volunteer your time with this organization and they also accept monetary donations.
- Feed More - They provide more than 30 million meals to those in our community who struggle with hunger. There are several ways to volunteer like working in the kitchen, warehouse and Meals on Wheels. They also accept monetary donations.
- Love of Learning - Their mission is to empower children and care-givers in low-income homes through literacy initiatives. You can volunteer your time for their read aloud program, donate books and they accept monetary donations.
- Side by Side - Their mission is to create supportive communities for LGBTQ+ youth in Virginia. You can volunteer to assist with their weekly support groups, helping at their youth center and or their special events. You can also support their work through monetary donations.
- The Black Mamas Matter Alliance - This is a national network who work to ensure all Black mothers have the resources needed to thrive before, during and after pregnancy. Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than a white woman even in the year 2023. You can support their mission through monetary donations.
For a more extensive list of volunteer opportunities and organizations, please visit Hands On Greater Richmond. You can register within their system where you can select the type of opportunities you would like to volunteer for and will be notified when they are available.
We hope you found this short list of opportunities useful and will feel inspired to get out there in the community and spread a little kindness. While most of the above opportunities are for people 18 and older, there are still ways to get your littlest volunteers involved. Encourage them to collect canned goods from their neighbors to donate to the food bank, pick up trash within their community, send thank you notes to first responders or donate their unwanted toys. Even a simple smile can go a long way in brightening someone’s day.
How will you show up in service for your community?
Image courtesy of AP Photo