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9 Workforce Service Ideas for Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day

Lining up meaningful service projects for your team to complete is a great way to honor MLK day

Nikhil Bendre

by Nikhil Bendre - January 10th, 2022


With the start of the new year, MLK Day is right around the corner on Monday, January 17th, 2022. Therefore, it’s time to start planning what your organization can do to commemorate this monumental day. Lining up meaningful service projects for your team to complete is a great way to honor MLK day and make a real impact on your community. The specifics of how you can execute this will differ for every organization depending on the resources you can allocate towards these projects, including time and participants. The first thing you’ll want to consider is when you’d like to hold these service projects, as most people get MLK day off. Coordinate whether your team prefers the actual day or perhaps another day that week. Once you’ve determined this, you can get to planning out what your company’s service will actually look like.

MLK Day Activity Ideas for Various Time Commitments

As previously mentioned, you need to determine how much time you can allocate to these efforts. Then, you can fill that time accordingly! Let’s look at some potential courses of action depending on how much time your team has.

The Whole Day

Dedicating an entire day to service activities revolving around MLK day is an amazing option because not only can you do more, resulting in a bigger impact, but you can put more effort into the planning and execution and really make this an event for your team. Here are some ideas that can take the whole day and be incredibly fulfilling when you’re done: 

1. Making care packages for the homeless and personally distributing them.

The number of homeless people, especially in a big city like Houston, is far too high and it’s on the more fortunate to extend a helping hand. Make sure to include essentials such as water, toothbrushes and toothpaste, something to eat (nonperishable), bandages, sanitary wipes, gloves, blankets, and socks. January can get pretty cold so definitely throw in warming materials. Then go to your nearest shelter and distribute your packages! Make sure you wear your masks so that you can help keep the community as safe as possible.

2. Spend the day at a senior home.

An incredibly sad truth about our society is that there are too many lonely senior citizens in our senior homes. Many don’t have loved ones around to come visit them often or even at all. Spend the day volunteering at one of these homes and give our senior citizens some valuable companionship! 

3. Volunteer at your local animal shelter!

Animal shelters are often overwhelmed with the amount of furry friends they have to host. There are so many tasks to be done - feeding them, walking them, playing with them, taking them out to use the bathroom, making sure their kennels are clean, and more! Think about helping out with these tasks and having a blast with some cuties in need of  a home.

A Half Day

If your organization can’t put aside a whole day, no worries at all. You can still do some great service work in a smaller frame of time! 

4. Consider dedicating a couple of hours to cleaning up a local park near the office. 

This way, you can improve your shared public spaces while simultaneously exercising your organization’s team work. Divide teams based on tasks such as trash collection, transportation to a dumpster, and dividing between garbage and recycling. This system is efficient and gives your employees an opportunity to work cross-functionally.

5. Volunteer as school crossing guards.

Lots of public schools struggle to find people to perform this job during drop off and pick up. Split your team into two to handle either the morning or afternoon shift and help these kids get to and from school safely!

6. Tutor at your local public school.

You can spend the morning in the office and then head over to your nearest school to help kids read or sharpen their skills in any particular subjects in the afternoon! Investing in the community’s youth is one of the best acts of service your team can provide!

No Time to Spare

Your organization may be in circumstances where you simply do not have time to spare. That is perfectly alright - you can still enact service initiatives for MLK Day! The key here is to set up drives for in-demand items that you can give out to those in need.

7. Set up a canned food drive so that your team can still give back, but your time can still go towards your work goals. 

Tell your team beforehand and set up a box to hold all of their contributions. Once the collection is complete, take the box down to your local food bank! A passive effort like this is a solid option for any companies that may be particularly busy at the start of the year but still want to prioritize service and giving back.

8. Set up a book drive.

Similarly to our last suggestion, this one simply requires some intimation ahead of time. Institutions such as schools and jails are always in need of more reading material. This MLK Day, you can give back in the form of knowledge!

9. Set up a toy drive for underprivileged children.

We just wrapped up the holiday season, which can be quite tough for our less privileged communities. It could be a good idea to gather any toys that your employee’s young family members no longer need and give them a new life with a kid that will cherish them like new!

Regardless of which time frame or idea fits the needs of your organization, GoCo’s workflow process can streamline your initial employee survey efforts when determining their interest in service project ideas. Later on, you can utilize GoCo’s workflow yet again to curate a specified task list for your service efforts, team member/department assignments, and even to track the overall progress of the efforts!

While service should be at the forefront of your organization year round, MLK Day is a time for you to put those efforts in the spotlight. Hopefully this article has illustrated that there’s no one right way to go about giving back, and there are options to fit a variety of time commitments! From all of us at GoCo, we hope you have a fantastic MLK day and that these suggestions help you out this year - your community will thank you! 

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