Martin Luther King Jr. Day Volunteer Events in Washington

There are plenty of ways to provide services to those in need this holiday weekend.

By: Jazelle Hunt

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 16. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user krossbow.

The first long weekend of the year is upon us, and with it comes a great opportunity to be a better you in 2012. Instead of sleeping in or splurging on a quick getaway this Monday, check out our list of nearby service initiatives that could use your help in furthering the greater good. If you know of any we missed, feel free to leave them in the comments.

DC

Care for the Homeless
Join ServeDC, the mayor’s office, and We Feed Our People outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Library (901 G St., NW) to serve hot meals and provide warm clothes to homeless DC citizens. Be advised that G Street between Ninth and 10th will be blocked off to traffic starting at 5:30 AM that day. 11 AM to 3 PM.

College Scholarship Event
Help the high school seniors at Thurgood Marshall Academy (2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE, directly across from the Anacostia Metro)  fill out their college scholarship applications. The school’s law-based curriculum has earned accolades and churned out stellar students, most of whom will need major financial assistance to pay for college. 10 AM to noon.


MARYLAND

City of Rockville 40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Every year, Rockville celebrates Dr. King’s life with live performances, awards, and fellowship. The town could use your help this year with setup, breakdown, crowd control, and general hospitality. The celebrations take place at Richard Montgomery High School (250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville). 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Writing Letters to Service Personnel on MLK Day
Spend the morning writing words of encouragement to our servicemen and women at this Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission event (12245 Tech Rd., Silver Spring)—just bring an open heart and a bit of creativity. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. 10 AM to 2 PM.

MLK Day of Service Volunteer Fair
The Volunteer Center For Anne Arundel County and the Banneker-Douglass Museum (84 Franklin St., Annapolis) are hosting a one-stop volunteer fair featuring service projects from several organizations. The family-friendly activities include making program materials for the Banneker-Douglass Museum, creating a community mosaic, and supporting military families, seniors, and the disabled. There will be light refreshments, and you can find out information on year-round volunteering opportunities. 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM.


VIRGINIA

MLK Day Operation School Supply
Support the military and international relations with this project from Northern Virginia Community College (AA Building Room 196, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria): building school supply kits for American troops to distribute to schoolchildren in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. If you can’t stay, you can donate brand new items to the cause. Sign up here. 1 to 3 PM.

Habitat Restoration Project
Fairfax County’s parks are tended mostly by volunteers. Join the Invasive Management Team and save native plant life from invasive species (like the diabolical English ivy) to maintain the parks’ natural habitat. Dress in layers, and bring water and gardening gloves. Volunteers must be 12 and up. Register for Nottoway Park (9537 Courthouse Rd., Vienna), 9 AM to noon; Brentwood Park (11903 Appling Valley Rd., Fairfax), 10 AM to noon; or Lemon Road Park (7210 Idylwood Rd., Falls Church), 1 to 3 PM. (Rain date January 21).

Weekend Food for Kids

For the past two years, the Assistance League of Northern Virginia has been administering Weekend Food for Kids for the one in six NoVA children who go without when school is out. On MLK Day, volunteers will meet at the Fairfax County Police Department’s Sully District Station (4900 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly) to pack 1,000 food bags for three Title I schools. 11 AM. (If you’re interested in becoming an Assistance League member, there’s a pre-event members meeting at 9:30 AM).