6 Activities to Do on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Eleanor King

Known as the Day of Service, MLK Day is a way to honor his life and teaching by engaging in community action that continues to solve social problems. By participating in service-day activities, you can encourage your kids to give back, care for those in need, and build stronger communities. 


Create kits for the homeless 

Homeless people struggle to get basic necessities, such as hygiene supplies, clothing, and healthy food, and clean water. Creating small kits that include supplies such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, water bottles, granola bars, socks, and hats are a simple and affordable way to support the homeless. Drop them off at a local shelter or homeless outreach program.

Adopt a park 

If there is a local park in your neighborhood, organize a group or go with your family and clean up the area. Bring a few bags to pick up trash and recycling, grab a broom and sweep any rocks off the sidewalk, and even bring trimmers if there are overgrown plants that need to be pruned. Not only does this get you outside and moving, it benefits the community.

Care for furry friends 

There are several ways to help local shelters and animal rescues, including donating food, blankets, and toys; walking dogs; reading to shelter pets; and cleaning kennels. If you have clean old linens you no longer want, such as towels, blankets, and sheets, animal shelters can use these to clean and help keep their animals warm. Reach out to your local shelters to find out what they are in need of or schedule a time to walk dogs. 

Collect and donate books 

There are many worthy donation locations for old books, including teachers in underfunded districts, prisons and jails, shelters, and assisted living communities. Let your neighbors know you are collecting books to donate to one of the above causes and either pick them up or have them dropped off at your home. Books in decent condition are best and can be for all backgrounds and age groups, and from any genre. 

Donate to a food pantry 

Hunger is a huge problem facing the United States. Donating to food shelters and pantries or food relief organizations is a way to help relieve some of the problem. The best types of food to donate are typically shelf stable. Remember that not everyone has access to clean water, so food items that do not require heating or cooking tend to be better. Reach out to your local food pantry to find out what they are in need of. 

Host a toy drive 

As kids grow up, the toys they use mature with them. Any lightly used baby toys your now middle school–aged child no longer plays with can be donated to nearby churches, childcare facilities, and even hospitals and doctors’ offices. Talk to neighbors and see if they have any old toys they are willing to part with. Reach out to local organizations to see if they are accepting donations or need specific toys.