January 18, 2016: What are you doing for others?

MLK Day image

Each year on the 3rd Monday in January, we celebrate the federal holiday of Martin Luther King Day, when Americans across the country join together to serve and give back to the community. The date was selected to commemorate his birthday, January 15, and to celebrate his life of service. After more than 15 years of campaigning for a national holiday in his honor, Martin Luther King Day was first officially observed in 1986. And, in 1994 the holiday was further designated as a national day of service.

The Martin Luther King Day of Service belongs to United We Serve, the President's call to service initiative. This day continues a national legacy of service, in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who conveyed the powerful significance of community through word, action, and heart.

We are all called to serve, but where do we start? In addition to United We Serve, a great place for MLK Day information is the National Service website, http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday, which includes a tool to search out volunteer opportunities by zip code using the website http://www.allforgood.org.

But not all of us can commit to a physical act of service. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to serve the community and even seemingly insignificant acts can build a more powerful movement. Below are some ways you can celebrate this day's message of civic duty and compassion.

1) If you're running a YouGiveGoods drive, mobilize your friends and family to support your cause. Use social media, email, and conversation to invite them to supply tangible aid to those in need by supporting your drive. Participating in a drive benefits the charity and provides a chance for your close ones to be part of this year's MLK Day.

2) Inspire your workplace by giving to a cause. Demonstrate social responsibility and commitment in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Team up with coworkers or your department to give back. Choose to support a local charity.

3) Unable to volunteer on January 18? Good news! Charities need help all year through. On MLK Day spend some time researching, choose your charity, make that phone call and find out how you can best serve them in the future.

4) Simply spread the word. Tell a friend or family member about MLK Day and its purpose. Forward this page, and encourage them to find a charity and cause close to their heart to support.

Finally, in recognition of the holiday's national volunteer work, YouGiveGoods is providing a 5% cash gift to the charity on any goods donation of $50 or more to any YGG drive. Simply use code MLKDAY at checkout. Make a donation to one of our current drives and help a stranger in honor of MLK Day.

Let’s all take Dr. King’s lead and do something to help someone in need and strengthen our communities. You’ll feel great and together we’ll be a powerful force for change.

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