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Honoring MLK Jr. With a Day of Service in the Berkshires

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 16

By Berkshires Macaroni Kid January 10, 2023

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described a “fierce urgency of now” when he spoke at the March on Washington in 1963. Now, nearly 60 years later, his words have renewed meaning. They remind us we are stronger when we march forward, together.

In recognition of Dr. King’s legacy of service and leadership to gain equality for all Americans, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service in 1994. AmeriCorps leads the effort each year.

Observed each year on the third Monday in January — which falls on Jan. 16 in 2023 — the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. Since its inception, MLK Day of Service has grown and its impact has increased as more Americans embraced the idea that citizenship involves taking an active role to make communities better. 






Serving on MLK Day can be an entry point for ongoing volunteer effort and help build connections that strengthen communities. Through service, we can build more equitable and just communities to underpin racial equity, expand civic opportunities, and foster respect for individual differences — all great lessons for our children. 

With that in mind, here are 5 family-friendly service opportunities in the Berkshires:

Do you know of a family-friendly or kid-friendly volunteer opportunity not listed here? Please reach out to taylors@macaronikid.com and we'll add it to our list!

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

The official annual MLK Day of Service is BACK for 2023. Join the Nbcc on Monday, January 16th from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for this day of community service in celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To pre-register yourself or a group: Online: https://bit.ly/2023_MLK or call: 413-663-7588. Click here to see the full schedule of events. nbccoalition.org

South Congregational Church

South Congregational Church is in need of volunteers to go to various grocery stores in Pittsfield to pick up food donations. You will need to go and pick up the food donations and then bring them back to South Church. southchurchpittsfield.org

UNICO'S Diaper Drive for Berkshire Diaper Project

UNICO’s Diaper Drive to support the Berkshire Community Diaper Project has kicked off!! Here’s where you can donate: Tavern at the A, until Monday Jan. 16, Toole Insurance Agency in Lee, drop off box on porch until Friday Jan. 14, Ready Set Learn is collecting from their families at their locations. On Monday, Jan.16, at the Tavern at the A. UNICO volunteers will be there to accept donations from your vehicle. Berkshire Community Diaper Project

Berkshire Animal D.R.E.A.M.S.

Berkshire Animal DREAMS needs enthusiastic, competent volunteers who would like to dedicate some of their time to help in the effort to end the overpopulation of cats in the Berkshires. Here are some of the ways you can help as a volunteer: Become a Trapper, Become a Canvasser, In-House Cat Care, Transport Cats, Foster Cats and Kittens, Raise Funds for the Organization, Deliver Food For Ferals. If you would like to volunteer, please email admin@berkshireanimaldreams.org or call (413) 997-CATS (2287). For more information visit: berkshireanimaldreams.org


How kids can help ... from home

Want more ideas on how to give back to your community that you can do from home? Here are some age-appropriate ideas you can do from home:

Kindergarten - 2nd Grades

  • Make cards or pictures for nursing home residents locally or find letter requests here! 
  • Fill Little Free Libraries or Little Free Pantries
  • Package care bags for people without housing or otherwise in need
  • Collect old towels and blankets and deliver to an animal shelter

3rd - 5th Grades

6th Grade and Up

  • Participate in charity walks or runs
  • Foster a pet as a family
  • Make and donate masks to local family shelters
  • Start a club at your school that promotes volunteerism throughout the year
  • Initiate a park clean up or beautification project
  • Install a buddy bench at a school