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Places to Volunteer On MLK Day

MLK day is an official day of service. Here's what you should do with the kids.


Here’s what you should do on MLK Day

istock.com/Steve Debenport


In 1994, congress designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day an official day of service, honoring the legacy and life’s work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Get the family involved and make a difference in your own community by spending this January 15 volunteering. To find organizations that need your help, enter your town or zip code into the search tool on mlkday.gov, or check out these great New Jersey-based events and organizations: 

Gloucester Township’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Various locations in Gloucester Twp.
8:30 am-noon

Work alongside friends, community members and Mayor David Mayer during this day of service. Activities include blanket making, card writing and outdoor cleaning. Registration required.

Kinard Family Helping Hands

Franciscan Park, Newark
10 am-4 pm

Give back to the community with Kinard Family Helping Hand, an organization that provides the homeless with hot meals, toiletries and new or gently used clothing.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Bloomfield

Demarest Elementary School, Bloomfield
8 am-1 pm

Get a jump-start on your MLK day service activities on Saturday, January 13th by volunteering at Demarest Elementary’s beautification project, no artistic ability required. Baby items and food donations are also being collected throughout the month of January. All items can be donated to Town Hall, the public library and firehouses.    

MLK Day of Service

Reeves-Reed Arboretum
165 Hobart Ave., Summit
856-225-1766; reeves-reedarboretum.org

All ages can get creative by making greeting cards out of recycled material that will be donated to a local hospital for Valentine's Day from 9 am–noon. The older set (ages 14 and up) can give the arboretum's staff a hand at "Clearing Their Way For Spring," where they'll be getting the site ready for the spring season.

Montclair State University MLK Day of Service

Student Center, Montclair State University
8 am-1 pm

Make it a day on, not a day off by helping out Buddies of NJ, Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey or KinderSmile. Activities include making dog toys and knitting blankets for the elderly. Registration is required.

Moorestown Ministerium Day of Service

207 West Main Street, Moorestown
9-11 am

Head to Trinity Episcopal Church, where the kids can participate in different service activities like creating “Birthday Bags” for Catholic Charities, preparing toiletry kits and donating cans of food.  

Rutgers-Camden Martin Luther King Day of Service

Rutgers-Camden Campus Center
326 Penn St., Camden
856-225-1766; camden.rutgers.edu

If you're looking to dive into several volunteer programs on Monday, the Rutgers-Camden campus is hosting a slew of events for families with kids 5 and up. Registrations begins at 8 am and programs run from 9:45 am–1 pm and transportation between sites will be provided. 

Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service

Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA
1340 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains

Head to the YMCA at 10 am for an art project, welcome speeches, music and Day of Service Fair featuring many organizations from the area. After the kickoff event, volunteers will head off to various sites for service projects. Projects are ongoing throughout the day and include food drives, pretzel decorating and drawing pictures for First Responders.

Stockton University’s Annual MLK Day of Service

Various locations in Galloway, Hammonton, Manahawkin and Atlantic City
8 am-3 pm

Join Stockton University for their 14th annual MLK Day of Service. Volunteers can lend a hand at various programs, both indoor and outdoor. Free transportation will be provided for service events occurring off-campus.

Bridges Outreach

At Bridges, your family can donate items for lunches, toiletry kits and other necessities for the homeless. Assemble kits yourselves at the center, and even deliver them directly to people in need. You can volunteer every Tuesday from 9 am-4:30 pm and every Friday from 8:30 am-3 pm.

Jersey Cares

This volunteer center database can help you find a local spot that needs help. From soup kitchens to community gardens, find the countless ways you can contribute. 

New Jersey Great American Cleanup

Get the kids involved in keeping the parks they love clean. Simple tasks like picking up trash or clearing leaves and debris from storm drains can make a huge impact on the overall health of the environment. Find a participating organization or register your own group.

New Jersey Veterans Home

Visit the elderly residents of a Veterans Memorial
Home (Menlo Park and Paramus) and make someone’s day. Call ahead to schedule a visit or a music recital, or bring the whole block to perform a talent.

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