It’s Not What You Say: What You Can Do on MLK Day!

Photo: Forbes

Photo: Forbes

Next Monday isn’t just a federal holiday where schools, public services and city offices close. Every year on January 20, we honor and celebrate Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by observing a day of service, “A Day On, Not A Day Off.” Here at Fiestah, we definitely believe it’s not about what you say, it’s always what you do!

Want to figure your way around community service for MLK Day, but don’t really know where to start? We break it down for you, below!

MLK Day of Service: Plan Your Own Project

Photo via: Huffington Post

Photo via: Huffington Post

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, which is the President’s national call to encourage volunteerism, where Americans of all walks of life to come together and serve others as part of their responsibility as citizens. What’s great about the MLK Day of Service official website is that they’ve got all the action guides for you to choose from, to follow! Just type in your zip code for a heads up of what’s happening around your area.

If you’d like to gather loved ones and work on your own project, they’ve got ideas for you too! Why don’t you make an assembly line, and write letters and send out care packages to our troops? The first thing to do is to find the soldiers to write to! It could be someone you know, or ask around! If your assembly is big enough, why don’t you send letters to the entire battalion?

Remember, the point is to brighten their day with your letters! Nothing too heavy, remember when they open the letter, it’s home you will remind them of. Don’t type anything, write it down! This is the perfect opportunity to tell these soldiers just how proud you are – you might not identity with the foreign policies of our country, but you definitely understand how much courage it takes to be so far away from home – all of this, is for you too!

What about care packages? Send over anything that reminds them of home! Sweets, home baked goods – just make sure it doesn’t go bad quickly! Make that assembly line happen, and divide group members to be responsible for the items. Take January 20 to come together and pack the goodies for our troops! For more information on making this project happen, click here!

Feeding the Hungry Feeds Your Soul

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” Acceptance Speech at the Nobel Peace Prizer Ceremony, December 10, 1964

Photo: NYCCAH

Photo: NYCCAH

If writing letters isn’t your thing, then get on board with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH). A representative and voice for more than 1,100 nonprofit soup kitchens and food pantries in the city, NYCCAH also helps 1.4 million low-income New Yorkers who can’t afford enough food for their own homes.

Let’s take a minute and review the numbers. 1.4 million people with no food in our own city is no joke. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in justice and freedom for all to create the Beloved Community. The only way to make this dream come true is to provide an avenue to feed the hungry – no one should be left behind!

So how can you and your group help? NYCCAH’s 13th annual MLK Day Serve-a-Thon will take a place on January 20, with activities such as preparing and distributing food, SNAP (formerly food stamps) outreach and public awareness. Sign up, and choose how you’d like to volunteer here!

We think this is the perfect activity to involve colleagues too! What better way to celebrate an incredible human being by empowering individuals and fostering employee engagement? When employees give back, they will realize the extent of their human power to make a change. How’s that for a boost in spirit?

BAM’s 28th Annual Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Photo via: BAM

Photo via: BAM

Want to be inspired by those who were inspired by MLK? Head to Brooklyn for the largest celebration of MLK Day in the city – it’s free entry! There will be also be a free screening in the BAM Rose Cinemas of the documentary Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners (2012), including an introduction by with Angela Davis.

 The BAMcafé will once again feature “Picture the Dream,” an exhibition of artwork inspired by Dr. King’s message of equality created by students from NYCHA Saratoga Village Community Center. For more information on the day’s itinerary – check it out here!

At the end of the day, it’s all about what we do for others that is a reflection of ourselves. Don’t forget to rope in your loved ones too – what’s community service without a community? Come together once you’re done, and reflect on all that you’ve achieved in just one day! Now, imagine what can more can be done if you did this on a daily basis?

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