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MLK Jr. family community service ideas

Each year, on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most of us think about MLK as a civil rights activist, but he was also a loving father of four. Just like moms and dads today, he was charged with teaching his children valuable lessons and leading by example. He chose to raise little Martin, Dexter, Yolanda, and Bernice to not only love their neighbors, but also to be active participants in their communities.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and in honor of his accomplishments as a parent, we thought we’d offer a few ideas for activities that will plant the seeds of community activism in your family.

  • If your kids are fond of the kitchen, make some rice krispy treats, brownies, or cookies and deliver them to a local senior home or shelter.
  • Make some get-well cards or birthday cards for children’s hospital wards or assisted living communities.
  • For a breath of fresh air, visit your favorite park and pick up litter. Just grab a trash bag and some gloves. You might not be able to clean up everything, but every little bit helps.
  • Put together a performance (tell some jokes, sing a song, play some music) at a local senior center.
  • Many food pantries need help delivering meals to families in need. Strap your kids into their car seats and bring them along for the ride.
  • If your children like playing in the snow, help them shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk.
  • Search around the house for things not used very often, clean them together and then donate them to a local charity or shelter.
  • Volunteer at a local food pantry. There are often easy jobs for kids, like sorting canned goods and plating food, but be sure to call ahead. Here are some local food pantries in Boston.
  • If you live in Boston, check out Cambridge MLK Day of Service. On Monday, January 17th from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., donate your time to help Many Helping Hands with various service projects including making fleece scarves and blankets for homeless children and adults, making bookmarks for adult literacy projects, Valentines Day cards for homebound seniors and emergency room activity kits. All ages welcome. For more MLK Day of Service activities in Boston click here.

Here are some organizations that offer kid-friendly volunteer opportunities in Boston:

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