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January can be the coldest month of the year, but it could also be the warmest when it comes to helping others. One of those reasons is because so many people celebrate the accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. by extending a helping hand on one special day.

The MLK Day of Service held this year on Monday, January 15, 2018, inspires thousands of people to defy the cold and serve others in ways ranging from providing meals, holding food, diaper, or coat drives, or just getting out and helping people in their neighborhood.

People of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities will come together on this day to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community where all people are equal.

What are you planning for MLK DAY 2018? Join our community by registering your event and posting pictures on our Facebook page so we can honor all the work our community is doing this MLK day to serve others.

Ideas you can do with your family or office:

• Make crafts, write letters, or donate ‘wish list’ items to be included in soldier care packages. We will send you a list of items requested by soldiers and get the packing slips. (Shipping fees may apply)

• Organize a food drive in your neighborhood to support a local foodbank. Contact us to find a food bank near you.

• Fill backpacks with items like a water bottle, socks, tuna and crackers, granola or cereal bar, fruit snack or applesauce cup, crackers with peanut butter or cheese, gift certificate to fast food restaurants, hand wipes, pack of Kleenex, maxi pads, toothbrush and toothpaste, Band Aids, Chapstick, comb or small brush, mints or cough drops, and a note of encouragement or uplifting quote for homeless children and adults in your area.

• Collect board games for a nursing home. Playing board games is a great way to stay mentally active. Collect board games and puzzles to donate to a local nursing home. Even better, visit the nursing home and play the games with seniors living there if the center allows it.

• Cleaning out your closets soon? Save gently used clothing and donate it to your local family shelter or charity thrift store. Don’t forget to throw in some new toiletries for the shelter residents. They sure can use them.

• Get crafty while bringing a smile to kids who are in the hospital. Make homemade cards with words of encouragement to be distributed to hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses.

• Start a crew of neighborhood children to provide snow shoveling services for seniors in your community on MLK day.

• Collect used towels and pet toys and donate them to your local animal shelter.

Got an idea? NEED AN IDEA?

CONTACT OUR VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT MANAGER, JULEE LAURENT AT JULEE.LAURENT@UWSM.ORG.