MLK Day Service Projects: How To Help Around Bethesda

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BETHESDA, MD — Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been designated by groups and organizations nationwide as "a day on" since the third Monday of January was declared a national holiday in memory of the late civil rights icon.

Organized service projects have taken the place of the traditional work or school holiday in recent years. But in 2021, restrictions in place to slow the further spread of the coronavirus are impacting the ability to perform some good deeds.

Even so, there are still ways to make a positive difference around Bethesda on the Jan. 18 holiday. Here are some options:

One Montgomery Green (OMG) MLK Week of Service

  • Description: We have a variety of means in which you can participate, whether you prefer to stay at home and participate virtually, or you prefer to use one of our clean-up kits to personally clean up our local streams and parks. We can also provide you with county-sponsored activities that you'll need to pre-register for. Click here to learn more.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - Diversity Book Drive

  • Description: To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Eta Pi Zeta Chapter is partnering with local elementary schools in Montgomery County to increase the number of diverse books in their school libraries. These books will be used as tools for parents and students to discuss race, self-love, Black Lives Matter, etc. Click here to learn more.

Rockville Weed Warrior Workday

  • Description: Join Rockville Weed Warrior Leaders for a non-native, invasive plant removal workday. Space is limited. Click here to learn more.

Manna MLK Day Virtual Food Drive

  • Description: Help us raise public awareness of the concept of food justice and raise funds to distribute nutritious, culturally-appropriate food to neighbors in need. Click here to learn more.

EveryMind - Letters and Cards of Gratitude, Encouragement, and Hope

  • Description: Take a moment to write words of gratitude to our Hotline Volunteers, encouragement to MCPS students in our Linkage to Learning program, and hope to the homeless and sheltered men and women served by our Homeless Outreach Program. Click here to learn more.

MLK Day of Service @ Journey's Crossing - Write Letters To First Responders

  • Description: These days people don’t receive a lot of letters and we don't often stop to write letters/cards. But, we all enjoy receiving special cards or letters. Take this opportunity to say thank you to people who are working hard to serve our community. There are first responders, nurses, doctors, support staff, police officers, firemen, caregivers, and others who serve to deliver goods and services during these challenging times. Click here to learn more.

Montgomery County Volunteer Center in Germantown - Make Dog Toys

  • Description: Have any old T-shirts or spare fabric lying around your home? Let's make dog toys for service dogs! These dog toys will be donated to Warrior Canine Connection and Hero Dogs. When you drop off your project, all volunteers will be required to fill out a sheet with your name, email address, and a checkbox to indicate if you are requesting SSL hours. Click here to learn more.

MLK Day of Service @ Journey's Crossing - Food Donations

  • Description: Residents are invited to drop off food for families in need. Food items needed include: spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, mac-n-cheese, canned tuna/meat, cans of soup, fresh produce/fruit. Click here for more information.

Montgomery County Volunteer Center in Germantown - Make a No-Sew Fleece Blanket

  • Description: These blankets will be donated to those in need across Montgomery County, including patients at Montgomery Hospice. When you drop off your project, all volunteers will be required to fill out a sheet with your name, email address, and a checkbox to indicate if you are requesting SSL hours. Click here to learn more.

Gaithersburg CARES Hub - Food Donations

  • Description: Hundreds of families continue to be served in response to the growing food and health needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. One opportunity to give back is to share a little love with neighbors who are facing challenging situations by writing notes of encouragement that will be distributed with food deliveries. Notes can be dropped off using a contactless delivery system. Click here for details. Additionally, the Hub is conducting a special appeal for facemasks, diapers, baby formula, and individually wrapped toilet paper rolls. Full details, with directions for either dropping off or shipping the donations, can be found at SenecaCreek.org/cares.

The Gaithersburg Parks, Arts & Recreation Corporation (G-PARC)

  • Description: Residents are invited to assist with a GIS coordinate mapping project at local parks on Sunday and Monday, January 17 and 18. Advance registration is required. Participants will need a mask, sturdy shoes, and appropriate outdoor apparel. Cellphones are helpful but not required. To register, send your name and the number of people in your volunteer party to GPARC@gaithersburgmd.gov. The assembly time and location will be provided to those who register. Note that SSL hours are available.

Sandy Spring Museum - Transcribe-a-thon

  • Description: Explore the history of Sandy Spring Maryland by transcribing an original archival document, helping to make these fascinating and important artifacts searchable and accessible to all. Click here to learn more.

More service projects in Montgomery County can be found here.

A list of organizations supporting COVID-19 response efforts had been made available by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

This article originally appeared on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Patch