Where to volunteer on MLK Day of Service in Austin

mlk day of service austin

This year, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 90 years old. The civil rights leader inspired the world with his message of peace and equality. He also believed deeply that we are all called to serve each other in order to strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to his vision of a “Beloved Community.”

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. To celebrate, every third Monday of the year, communities across the country organize volunteering and service activities to give people of all ages the opportunity to be great.

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

This year’s MLK Day is on Monday, Jan. 21, but volunteer opportunities abound over the weekend. Because these are organized activities, you’re sure to find opportunities for kids and families, individuals and groups, all over town. The best opportunities fill up early, though, so sign up early.

Saturday, Jan 19

United Way of Greater Austin in partnership with Keep Austin Beautiful kicks off its day of service with a breakfast at United Way headquarters on MLK Jr. Blvd, then sends folks off for a clean-up of MLK Jr. Blvd. Choose a route, wear comfortable shoes, and bring a friend. Learn more here. 

Copperfield Nature Trails Work Day invites everyone to help clean up the trails and enjoy fun company in this North Austin preserve. Learn more here.

MLK Peace Through PIE Social invites everyone to celebrate MLK’s birthday, donate a pie for the auction, and enjoy pie with friends. Learn more here. 

Urban Roots invites you to dig in and work on an urban farm during its annual MLK Weekend of Service Saturday. You will have a chance to plant, cultivate, or harvest sustainably grown fruits and vegetables and be inspired by Urban Roots youth leaders. 60% of the produce  volunteers help grow is sold at the farmer’s market and wholesale to support our mission, and 40% is donated to local hunger relief partners to get fresh food into the hands of those who need it. Learn more here.

Brave Communities Conversation and MLK Documentary and Discussion will screen “King of the Wilderness,” a documentary based on the final years of MLK’s life. Stay for small group discussions and light snacks. Learn more here.

Monday, Jan 21

Sign up as an individual or a group for a project with United Way of Williamson County in Cedar Park, Georgetown, Leander, Round Rock, and Liberty Hill. Pets, seniors, parks and others await your help! Events run from 9 am to 12 pm. Learn more here. 

During the MLK march and MLK Community Festival you can drop off canned goods or other non-perishable food items for the Central Texas Food Bank. The march starts at 9 am at the MLK Statue on the UT-Austin campus and ends at the festival at Huston-Tillotson University. Learn more here. 

Texas Land Conservancy is partnering with Texas Conservation Corps and the San Marcos River Foundation for the 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Join them in picking up trash and removing invasive species at the Eastside Preserve owned by the San Marcos River Foundation. This 32 acre preserve in the heart of San Marcos is a beautiful riparian property along the San Marcos River and Willow Springs Creek. Only 25 spots available, so sign up before they fill up! Learn more here.

Pease Park Conservancy is hosting its first volunteer day of the year in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Major trail improvements will be underway along the southern portion of Caswell Shoals connecting trails with views along the hillside to trails leading to a low-water crossing. Learn more here.

The Austin Young Lawyers Association invites the Austin legal community to sign up for one or more of the events available for the Day of Service. Projects available at SAFE, Community First!, Austin Animal Center, Bookspring, and more. In addition, please encourage family and friends to volunteer as well. Learn more here.

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