As the 95th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. approaches on January 15, 2024, people across the United States prepare to honor the birth of one of its most influential civil rights leaders. MLK Day of Service transcends remembrance, having evolved into a national day of service that actively honors Dr. King’s memory. This day encourages us to reflect on the impact of Dr. King’s work and take action to advance his vision for a better society. It’s the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
MLK Day of Service is a call to action, in the spirit of Dr. King, who once said, “Everybody can be great because anyone can serve.” These words are an invitation to contribute to our communities, addressing issues that we are passionate about and that resonate with the values Dr. King championed.
As champions of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Points of Light Global Network Affiliates are offering a variety of volunteer activities across the country, making it easier for everyone to find a way to make a difference in their community. And if you don’t see an event in your community listed below, take a look at volunteer opportunities happening across America to find where you can get involved.
2024 MLK Day of Service Opportunities
1. Business Volunteers Maryland is collaborating with its dedicated partner, TEKsystems, to motivate its nationwide workforce to volunteer on MLK Day, especially in Baltimore. Their 2024 ambition is for all employees to participate in the “Day On Not Off,” either through sponsored events or individual volunteering, demonstrating a commitment to impact on MLK Day and beyond.
2. The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with a tribute that has been running since 2014. After a pandemic hiatus, CVNL reignited the tradition in 2023. The event will feature opportunities for community service projects focusing on building a “Beloved Community” reflective of Dr. King’s ideals of inclusion, equity, justice and compassion.
3. Chicago Cares will be offering a one-day Civic Leadership Training Series, crafted to empower individuals for year-round impactful community engagement. This dynamic program, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., equips attendees with essential skills for sustainable civic leadership in a collaborative, immersive learning experience.
4. Hands On Atlanta will engage volunteers in metro Atlanta from Jan. 11-15, 2024, supporting more than 50 nonprofits focusing on food security, education and the environment, in line with Dr. King’s vision. This includes the 10th annual MLK Sunday Supper on Jan. 14, a gathering for Atlanta’s leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue about “Challenging the Status Quo.”
5. HandsOn Central California organizes an annual day of service in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., mobilizing volunteers, corporate partners and organizations across Central California. This year, MLK Serve Projects will be active in Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, Merced, Mariposa and Stanislaus Counties, addressing critical community needs.
6. HandsOn New Orleans and Shell Oil are teaming up to revitalize a public school campus in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The organization is seeking volunteers for various projects, including enhancing playgrounds, making over a library, constructing outdoor cafeteria seating, painting locker rooms and refurbishing basketball courts. The focus is on creating inclusive, stimulating spaces for individual and group play, incorporating STEM and music activities. Another event hosted by HandsOn New Orleans and Shell Oil will transform a budding public park via various outdoor projects, replicating the successful efforts of a local man who galvanized the community to restore his childhood recreation center after Hurricane Katrina.
7. HandsOn Northwest North Carolina has collaborated with Wake Forest University and others since 2010 to organize the Read-In event, promoting Dr. King’s ideals through literacy and service. The event pairs children ages 4 through 10 with college students for reading and enrichment activities, giving each child a civil-rights themed book. Annually engaging about 150 volunteers and 100 children, the event will take place this year at Winston-Salem State University.
8. Jersey Cares will mobilize 1,500 volunteers across ten New Jersey counties for a variety of projects, including school transformations, park revitalization, a social justice walk, workshops and care package assembly. These impactful activities will take place both on the day of and the day before the holiday, honoring Dr. King’s legacy through community service.
9. L.A. Works will commemorate Dr. King’s influential 1964 speech at the Coliseum with the MLK 2024 Volunteer Festival at the same venue. This event, aimed at building a beloved community, will feature thousands of volunteers engaging in diverse activities like hands-on service, a Minecraft March on Washington and a marketplace showcasing local BIPOC-owned businesses.
10. The Long Island Volunteer Center, in partnership with AHRC, is organizing a diverse group of volunteers for food drives and emergency food aid delivery. The event includes a march from the First Baptist Church in Glen Cove to the Glen Cove Middle School, where volunteers, including AHRC Nassau members, will assemble food bags for the North Shore Soup Kitchen. The day will also feature a celebratory program with artistic expressions themed on diversity and inclusivity.
11. OneOC’s 25th annual Day of Service will invite community members to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through meaningful service. Partnering with the Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC) and the Orange County Food Bank, this event supports initiatives that have been improving lives and communities and fighting poverty in O.C. for more than 56 years.
12. United Way of Genesee County will again host its MLK Day of Service Food Packing Event. Launched in 2018 to address local hunger issues, this event engages volunteers in an assembly-line to pack 200,000 nutritious meals. These meals are then distributed by volunteers to various local food pantries, including churches and schools, ensuring widespread community impact.
13. United Way of Greenville County will offer an MLK Day of Service event on the 20214 MLK Day of Service. This day will focus on neighborhood cleanups to enhance the environment and community unity, along with hosting voter registration drives at each site to encourage civic engagement and honor Dr. King’s vision of equality and active community participation.
14. Volunteer Arlington’s 7th MLK Day of Service will feature diverse civic engagement projects like “Listen and Learn” sessions on affordable housing, training for “SNAP Ambassadors”, donation scavenger hunts, park cleanups, STEM kit packing and more. The event will also include the presentation of the “Beloved Community Award” to a leader exemplifying Dr. King’s vision.
15. The Volunteer Center of Burlington County’s 4th annual MLK Unity Celebration will feature the theme “Live, Love & Serve – Burlington County” from January 12-15. The event features a local video to inspire participation in MLK Day events and activities, available for individual viewing and at related events. Additionally, attendees can join the 18th annual MLK Challenge on MLK Day, involving card making and collections for three different causes.
16. The Volunteer Center of the Triad will host its annual MLK Day of Service, a significant community event for 15 years, celebrating Dr. King’s legacy through service. This day includes diverse activities like service projects for local nonprofits, a nonprofit fair, food drive, community art, performances and a children’s area with literacy support through Imagination Library. Join the “Kindness for King” initiative and the MLK Drive Clean-Up to make a meaningful impact.
17. Volunteer Fairfax will host its MLK Jr. Weekend of Service, starting with a community conversation on “Racial Equity: Practices and Competencies to Build Stamina and Strength” on January 10, led by award-winning moderator Natasha A. Harrison. This panel features community leaders discussing the implementation of racial equity practices. On January 15, “Give Together,” a family-friendly volunteer event for children (ages 5-12), will offer service projects across various areas, including food insecurity and elder care, guided by teen leaders. This event includes reflection on Dr. King’s legacy and the opportunity for youth to earn Passport stamps through participation.
18. Volunteer New York! will host its MLK Day 2024 Civic Circle Discussion, where they explore nine ways to lead a purposeful civic life. Attendees will have the chance to reflect on community involvement, vision and actions to make that vision a reality.
Points of Light is proud of the work our affiliates are championing for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service this year. Do you want to participate in this day of service through volunteer opportunities near you? Visit Points of Light Engage to search our database of hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities. Together, we can keep Dr. King’s dream alive and thriving in communities across the nation.