2022 MLK National Day of Service

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

January 17-25, 2022

National Day of Service – Volunteer Activity

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is an official day of service in recognition of the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. WMIS Diversity Committee invites you to participate in this day of service from January 17-January 25, 2022 and share your act of service on social media. You choose a volunteer act of service of your own design that fits your schedule and preferences. Then share your act of service on social media tagging WMIS and using the hashtags #MLKDay and #MLKatWMIS. Given the commitment to service within the medical community, we look forward to seeing your acts of service on our social media platforms!

How to Give Back on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The community—and your physical and mental health—will be better for it.

The federal holiday, which takes place annually on the third Monday in January (January 17 in 2022), is a National Day of Service. The civil rights icon, who was assassinated in 1968, recognized the power of giving back. In fact, in his 1957 “Conquering Self-Centeredness” speech, Dr. King said, “An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” That may be one reason why comedian and TV writer Ricky Smith, founder of Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere (R.A.K.E.), a nonprofit that aims to encourage paying it forward, says that volunteering gives people a sense of purpose. “It makes you feel like you matter, that you are not necessarily helpless or hopeless,” he says. “It makes you feel like you are part of something bigger, gives you a sense of community.”

Why Serve this Week to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service?

Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens around the world to live up to the purpose and potential of the universe by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this world a better place to live—creating the Beloved Community. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and teachings into community action that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, or it may meet a need of the spirit. During this upcoming week, WMIS members of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.

Ways to get involved

Donate to a Food Pantry

Food insecurity—not having access to food because of lack of money and other resources—is a big issue right now. According to the United Nations, 9% of the world population – around 697 million people – are severely food insecure.
One-in-four people globally – 1.9 billion – are moderately or severely food insecure. The UN has set a global target as part of the Sustainable Development Goals to “end hunger by 2030.” And the COVID-19 pandemic— especially during the early months—created additional issues of hunger.
If you want to help, check out the nonprofit Food Pantries to locate one in your area where you can donate food, money, or volunteer in-house.

Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Buy a pizza for a homeless man. Bring treats for furry friends at animal shelters. Give flowers to folks in assisted living facilities. These are all things that comedian and TV writer Ricky Smith, founder of Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere (R.A.K.E.) has personally done. —”We think so macro instead of thinking micro,” Smith says. “Simply do what you are good at and do it in a way that is kind. If everyone did one act of kindness a day, the world would be a better place.”

Help Our Health Care Workers

Our health care workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic for nearly two years—and the omicron variant has created a new influx of hospitalized patients.

Some communities are putting together care packages for health care workers, with energy bars, coconut water, and sports drinks to help them power through long shifts—plus encouraging signs to let them know the community supports them. This act is a great way for kiddos to flex their creative muscles.

Beautify the community

  • Remove graffiti from a building and paint a mural
  • Create community green spaces by planting trees, grass, and flowers, especially in locations that may lack adequate green space
  • Reclaim a park or abandoned space for community use
  • Become a volunteer with a local, state, or national park

Community-Based Service

  • Search by zip code to explore virtual volunteer opportunities with Points of Light
  • Hold a no-contact coat drive in your area via One Warm Coat.
  • Sponsor a card-writing session for military veterans through Soldiers Angels.
  • Explore virtual volunteer opportunities with the American Red Cross.
  • Explore the Idealist website for volunteer tasks, COVID-19 efforts and other locally-based volunteer opportunities.

What Can You Do Nationally

  • Write letters to seniors who are in self-isolation. Letters Against Isolation is a great resource that serves thousands of seniors in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and Israel in isolation due to pandemic.
  • Volunteer at a local school or college to answer questions from underrepresented students or give career readiness about your career or academic specialty.
  • Sign up to be a virtual tutor with UPchieve. The free, online platform connects low-income students in the U.S with live, volunteer coaches.

Additional Recommended In-person and Virtual Ways to be Engaged in Service Activities

  • Give blood. Visit the Red Cross to make an appointment.
  • Support local small businesses. Order take-out from your favorite restaurant, buy a gift certificate to use later, or shop online with a local business.
  • Card-making for local heroes. Show first responders and emergency volunteers your gratitude. Click here to learn more.
  • Be My Eyes. Lend your eyes to solve tasks to assist blind and low vision people by downloading an app and being on call. Visit Be My Eyes to learn more.
  • Translators without Borders. If you are fluent in one language, in addition to your native language, you can assist by translating medical texts or translating to help in crisis response. Visit Translators without Borders to learn more.
  • Virtual nights with seniors! Bring cheer to your community by engaging in conversation with seniors. Contact a local assisted living or nursing home and virtually volunteer your time.
  • Doggie treats. Call a local animal shelter and ask if they would be willing to accept your homemade treats. Find an easy recipe online, and donate the treats to the shelter you selected.