MLK Day of Service 2013: What Are You Doing For Others?

Photo by Jason Riedy

This year, on January 21, 2013, we will once again mark the birthday of Martin Luther King, and once again, the day is being marked not just as a time to reflect on King’s life and legacy, but also as a day of service.

Dr. King believed strongly in helping others, not just in the massive ways that he helped fight segregation but also in reaching out to the poor. He once said, as is quoted on the Day of Service website,

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”

What can I do in a day’s time?

Photo by Ron Cogswell

You might be thinking that a day of service sounds really good, and sure, it’s great to do things for others, but what can a person really do during a single day that would really make an impact?

It almost seems easier just to observe the day, ponder the fact that less than 50 years ago, African Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountains as whites in the South, and leave it at that. Maybe even do some self-congratulating that our country has come so far.

Actually, though, a lot of good can be accomplished in a single day. The MLK Day of Service site enables you to find ongoing projects in your particular area. In my neck of the woods there are a couple of different donation sorting centers that are looking for help. T

he really neat thing about the website is that they provide toolkits that can enable you to start your own project. You can get the ball rolling on January 21st, and create something that carries through to the rest of the year. Some of the ideas they have are pretty interesting. Here are just a few:

  • — Train your neighbors on how to get ready for disasters
  • — Organize a book and school supply drive
  • — Organize a tree planting event (Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts often participate in events like this)

If none of those ideas ring your chime, you can think outside the box, and do something that might seem more manageable for you. For example, Martin Luther King was 39 years old when he died–maybe you could entice 38 people to donate, along with you, $39 to one particular organization. Maybe you could make and donate 39 scarves to a homeless shelter, or maybe you could simply volunteer for the day at a local food bank.

If you’d like to do something within the Mightycause environment (which we of course would greatly appreciate) there are tons of GREAT causes that perhaps are planning events for the 2013 Day of Service that you could help support monetarily. If someone’s birthday is coming up you can even tie that into an opportunity to give to a Mightycause charity while also honoring Martin Luther King’s legacy.

The Cumulative Effect

The thing that I think is the most powerful about the concept of the MLK Day of Service is that it is not just about one person. Rather, the message is that everyone sets their mind to helping others, lots of small actions can accumulate to create a national feeling of doing good. Even if what you do doesn’t feel like it’s huge or even enough, taken in the context of the entire day, you will feel part of a positive movement, together with people all across the country, from the President to someone working a blue collar job in a small town. If that isn’t making Martin Luther King’s dream come true, I’m not sure what is.

So, what are you going to do on MLK Day of Service 2013? We’d love to hear from you!