MLK Day Service Projects: How To Help In Reston

Michael O'Connell

RESTON, VA — Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been designated by groups and organizations nationwide as “a day on” since the third Monday of January was designated a national holiday in memory of the late civil rights icon. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, there are ways to make a positive difference in Reston on the Jan. 18 holiday this year.

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.

During MLK Weekend, Reston Community Center will host the following in-person community service projects:

RCC Hunter Woods, Saturday, Jan. 16, from 9 a.m.-11 p.m., and Monday, Jan. 18, from 12:30-2 p.m. Members of the public ages 6 and older are encouraged to participate in community service projects. Children under the age of 14 may volunteer, but they must be accompanied by an adult/guardian age 18 and older. To volunteer, contact Ha Brock, Reston Association's Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator: 703-435-7986 or habrock@reston.org.

As part of this year's celebration, RCC is conducting a toiletries drive through Jan. 18 at RCC Hunters Woods and RCC Lake Anne. Needed items include soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant. The items will be donated to Cornerstones, which will distribute them to local families in need. Gift cards are also welcome.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, communities across the country held large events in various locations promoting service on the holiday.

Those have included Highland Park, Illinois, where the local human relations advisory group usually draws about 1,200 people every year to a service program that has turned into one of the city’s signature yearly events.

This year, the city will hold a virtual program to “honor the legacy of Dr. King's fight against inequity and his work to secure a just future for all,” Amanda Civitello, communications manager for the city of Highland Park, said in a news release.

Even if there aren’t any organized service projects planned nearby, there are several other ways to help those in need in or near Reston.

Donating to nonprofit organizations, volunteering with food banks and pantries, and delivering meals and groceries to seniors are a few suggestions outlined by the national volunteer program AmeriCorps.

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 Reston Patch