Today is the day we honor the life and accomplishments of one of the greatest leaders our nation has ever seen: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And of course this year, with the anticipated inauguration of the United States' first African-American president less than 24 hours away, this day takes on an added significance.
Historically, Americans have celebrated King's birthday with a day of learning and community service. This year, more than 12,100 service projects are taking place across the country, more than double the events reported in 2008. For more information on what those projects are, see the U.S. government's official MLK Day website.
Seattle is no exception. All over the city, citizens are spending their "day off" engaged in acts service to benefit their communities. Here are a few volunteer efforts we've chosen to highlight:
Upcycle Your Used Media to Benefit Local Non-Profits
Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service with Eco Encore. The non-profit organization will be spending the day at the Edmonds Community College computer lab sorting and pricing donations of used books and media, and listing them online for resale. Volunteers are encouraged to bring donations of books and media with them. Proceeds from the sale of the books help support local environmental non-profit organizations.
Donate Food and Hygiene Items
Youth Volunteer corps of Camp Fire USA, Central Puget Sound Council will be volunteering in North Seattle today to collect food and toiletry items for those in need. All donations will go toward NW Harvest and Food Lifeline, which both work to provide assistance through partnering food banks all over Washington State.
Beautify Your Neighborhood Community Center
City Year will partner with El Centro de la Raza today by leading volunteers in projects such as landscaping the exterior of their building, painting murals and assembling planter boxes.
Plant a Tree, Play in the Dirt
The Nature Consortium's Urban Forest Restoration Project is focusing their efforts on a the long-term stewardship and restoration work for the West Duwamish Greenbelt, the largest remaining contiguous forest within Seattle city limits. Spend the day removing invasive plants, planting natives or conducting site maintenance.
Participate in a Food Drive
The Food Connection is Pierce County's largest Food Bank. From its beginnings in a Hilltop garage in 1982 to today, the Food Connection has been a consistent source of nutritious food and caring for people in need throughout Pierce County. Donate today.
Join a Community Debate
On Monday morning, the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice will meet at Garfield High School room 235, from 9:30-10:45 a.m, to discuss how we can improve community health through community organizing. Kalayan Domingo, with Annie Phare, Mel "Baraka" Cloyd and Joyce Tseng will be facilitating the discussion. Participants will explore definitions of health, how health is produced and strategies we as community members can use to build healthier communities and a healthier society.
How are you spending your day today? Please share your stories in the comments below.
Image Credit: Wikipedia