Charities We Love

Six Ways to Volunteer in New York This MLK Day

There’s no better day to give back to the city you love.

Acquaint yourself with New York's old timers

We all attempt to be the best version of ourselves after New Year’s Day—despite the irresistible allure, we say no to that extra slice of cake and opt for walking a few extra blocks instead of enjoying the warmth of a subway car. Why not pivot your focus from self-improvement to world improvement for a weekend in honor of one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement. Support your neighbors in need this Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with one of these volunteer opportunities taking place around the boroughs.

Food Bank for NYC Pantry Stock Up and Delivery

What better way to connect with others than over food? Warm your neighbors up from the inside out by donating your time to the Food Bank for New York City. Volunteers will be responsible for packing, organizing, and delivering food to nearby shelters.

Food Bank for New York City
355 Food Center Drive, Bronx
Saturday, January 13–Monday, January 15

I Have a Dream Celebration! at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Involve your whole family in celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will offer family-friendly events that tackle such themes as diversity, equality, and freedom. Kids will particularly enjoy the “I Have a Dream Cloud” project, in which they can write their own dreams on  cloud cutouts and hang them among the hopes and wishes of their peers.

Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Avenue, Crown Heights
Saturday, January 13–Monday, January 15

Thrive Collective: The Power of Clean 

Clean up a messy, empty space and transform it into a bustling arts center in Harlem for Thrive Collective, an organization that provides arts education and mentoring for low-income students and schools. Volunteers of all ages can sign up for two-hour windows at this family-oriented service event, sponsored by Clorox.

mlk day volunteer opportunities
This place will be spic-and-span by the end of the long weekend

Soul Saving Station Building
302 West 124th Street (between St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard), Harlem
Saturday, January 13, and Monday, January 15

Manny Cantor Center: Community Building and Conversation

2017 was undeniably a year of division. The Manny Cantor Center honors Dr. King by offering us the chance to truly listen to our neighbors through positive conversation, facilitated by Repair the World and Avodah. Like MLK, MCC believes that the cohesiveness of a community depends on the ability to thoughtfully engage with differing perspectives. After the meeting, volunteers will be able to put their newfound understanding into action through community-based service projects decided upon together.

mlk day volunteer opportunities
Get to know your neighbors in Queens

Manny Cantor Center
197 East Broadway (between Jefferson and Clinton Streets), Lower East Side
Monday, January 15
10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Central Queens Y

The Central Queens Y offers a variety of volunteer events to help out the Forest Hills community. Serve lunch to seniors, paint a mural, or create care packages for domestic abuse survivors, while your kids get their hands dirty with a just-for-children gardening activity.

Central Queens Y
67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills
Monday, January 15
9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

Turn & Learn: Compost Work Days

Give back to the environment and enjoy a day outdoors with the NYC Compost Project at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Today you’ll learn about the benefits of compost by actually making it! With your help (as well as assistance from worms), composting transforms food garbage into greenery. Dress the kids—and yourself—in layers and closed-toe shoes.

mlk day volunteer opportunities
It’s never too cold to compost with the NYC Compost Project

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
Saturday, January 13
1–3 p.m.