The observation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is designated as a national day of service. Kids can still make an impact from home this year, with options ranging from writing letters to nursing home residents to volunteering in the neighborhood.
Shovel Snow or Pick Up Trash
Help beautify your neighborhood with a trash pickup or shovel snow from the sidewalks and driveways of elderly neighbors.
Make Blankets for Children in Hospitals
Head to Pinterest to find a pattern perfect for your kids to make no-sew blankets for kids in hospitals and homeless shelters. Contact your local organization for drop-off information.
Let your kids pick a recipient — service members, front-line workers or elderly residents in your closest nursing home — to send letters and hand-drawn pictures.
Set Up Donations
Older kids can organize donations for homeless shelters, food pantries or animal shelters with porch pickup around the neighborhood. Have your kids create their own leaflets to distribute in your neighbor’s mailboxes with information.
Bake Dog Biscuits
If your kids are begging to get in the kitchen, they can follow this easy recipe to make dog biscuits for a nearby animal shelter. Let them pick out their own cookie cutters of dogs, bones or other fun shapes, then bag them up for donation.
Decorate Kindness Rocks
If your kids are artists, painters or just like to get messy, consider helping to decorate Kindness Rocks. Add sayings that MLK championed, like “Dream,” “Equality” and “Character.”
Run a Penny Drive
Collect unwanted pennies from your neighbors, family and friends to donate to a favorite charity, or to buy gift cards to local restaurants and grocery stores for front-line workers.
Join the B-Kind Challenge
Need more at-home ideas? Fill out your B-Kind bingo card to earn your certificate that shows off your kindness.
Collect thank you notes
Instead of asking for money or donations in your neighborhood, ask neighbors to make thank you cards for first responders, then collect and drop them off at your local hospital.
These resources can help connect you with local opportunities for volunteering or get you started with grassroots service groups in your neighborhood or school: Points of Light, Generation On, Project Giving Kids, AmeriCorps and the American Red Cross.
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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s January/February 2021 issue.