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Family Community Service Ideas for MLK Day of Service

I am 100% on board when it comes to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory with community service. I think it’s fantastic that many in our country are making MLK Day a day to help others in our communities. It’s such a nice opportunity to make the holiday into a great teaching moment for my kids while we are doing good for others as well.

The good news is, many KC-area churches and school groups are coming together to perform community service activities across the city! Many organizations have age-restrictions on volunteer work, which makes sense as they want everyone to remain safe. However, if you decide to hunt down your own family activity, here are a few good kid-friendly ideas I found during my own search:

Olathe Public Library MLK, Jr. Day of Service: Hats off to the Olathe Public Library staff who are making it very accessible to help our community! Families can join the Olathe Downtown Library on Jan. 18, from 10am-5pm to work with a number of visiting nonprofit agencies for hands-on projects throughout the day. No registration required, just drop-in. And from Jan. 18-Feb. 20, you and the kids can drop off non-perishable food for Harvesters in donation bins at Olathe Downtown and Olathe Indian Creek Library locations.

Meals and Snack Bags for Ronald McDonald House: If you and your family like to cook together, this is a great way for everyone to help! You bring the food and a small group to volunteer, and your family benefits from knowing you’ve nourished families who are going through a stressful time in their lives.

2016 MLK Nature Walk: This isn’t a volunteer opportunity in the strictest sense of the word, but the Heartland Conservation Alliance is looking for walkers to join them on the 2016 MLK Nature Walk. The 1.5-mile (paved) nature walk will begin at 1pm at the Brush Creek Community Center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. It’s a great way to join others to reflect on the meaning of MLK Day, and – let’s be honest – what kid couldn’t use use a good run around the park?!?

Hit the Grocery Store: If cooking with your little ones is out of the question, consider putting together a list and going to the grocery store to purchase food for Harvesters or another local food pantry. (Note: Harvesters also has many volunteer opportunities, but children must be 8 or older to participate.)

Look around Your Own Home: Consider sorting through your children’s outgrown clothing, toys or books with them at your side. Then donate the gently used items to Safehome, Rose Brooks Center, or another shelter of your choice. My kids love knowing that their favorite shirt or toy is going to someone who truly needs it. (Books can always be donated to your local library.)

Love thy Neighbor: Our neighbor and her kids “potted” paper flowers they made one year, then brought a potted creation to each neighbor. We don’t have the flowers anymore, but we still remember what a sweet surprise it was to receive their thoughtful treat!

Still not sure what’s right for your family? Click here for some other great ideas for family-friendly volunteering from!

Here’s to a fun and meaningful MLK Jr. Day in KC!



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