MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

A Day of Service in Montgomery County

The January 14-16 weekend honors the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s a welcome mid-month pause that can be enjoyed throughout Montgomery County.

But as a Day of Service, it should be much more than just that. So as you’re planning a long weekend (with perhaps a stay in a cozy hotel), be sure to also take on a volunteer project.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

King of Prussia
January 11 and 16

This two-part honorific to Dr. King begins with a January 11 evening of presentations by the vocal, instrumental, art, prose and poetry students of Upper Merion Area Middle School. The second piece, January 16, provides bus transportation to/from downtown Philadelphia, where volunteers will prep and serve lunch to shelter residents.

YOUR WAY HOME WELCOME BENEFIT CONCERT

Pottstown
January 14

Proceeds from this night of hip hop and pop music benefit Your Way Home, an organization that transitions the homeless into permanent residences. The stage at The Hill School Center for the Performing Arts will feature student performers that include the school’s select acapella vocal group. Beverly’s Pastry Shop and The Butcher and the BBQ supply the food, with half the proceeds being donated back to the cause.

MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING

Bridgeport
January 14

If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) but weren’t sure how to connect, this MLK opportunity is a great introduction. A service opportunity will be ongoing throughout the day (noon to 4 p.m.) In addition, attendees can learn how to get more fully involved during the rest of the year. All ages are welcome.

Site: MADD Pennsylvania State Office, 408 E. Fourth St, Suite 106, Bridgeport, Pa.

FREE ZOO ADMISSION

Elmwood Park Zoo, Norristown
January 16

Elmwood Park Zoo is providing animal fans with a gift for Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: free admission throughout the day (although donations are absolutely appreciated). At 1 p.m., a program called I Have a Dream takes place in the Canopy Gardens Hall. It includes a live animal education portion. Elmwood Park Zoo also has a comprehensive volunteer program that, in the spirit of the 2017 Day of Service, will happily accept new participants.

DONATE AND VOLUNTEER

Penn Valley
January 16

For the past 22 years, Har Zion Temple has gathered on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day to support needy members of its community. This year is no different. Attendees are asked to bring donations of clothing, household items, pet-related merchandise, books and even things like unused reading glasses. Projects include sorting these articles for distribution. Other volunteers will be cooking meals for shut-ins, writing to soldiers overseas and participating in a blood drive.

MLK GIVE BACK DAY

Abington Art Center, Jenkintown
January 16

Abington Art Center teams up with Angels in Motion, a support organization that works to help individuals on the street trapped by addiction. MLK Give Back Day will have helpers assembling “blessing bags,” small parcels containing a beverage and snacks, along with resource information and an encouraging note. Attendees are asked to bring bulk snack items (small bags of cookies, mini boxes of raisins, packets of nuts) to donate.

BETH AM ISRAEL

Narberth
January 16

Volunteers will tackle tasks that include sorting books and clothing for the needy, preparing meals for homebound seniors and recording books on tape for children in Africa. In return, Beth Am Israel is supplying brunch and a t-shirt as a thank-you to workers donating their time.

SIBERIAN HUSKY RESCUE

Horsham
January 16

Hey, dog lovers! This outreach, in operation since 2000, needs permanent help with common office tasks like responding to voice and email messages and checking adoption applications. Shorter term, Day of Service participants can pitch in with the care and socializing of these magnificent canines.

MEAL DELIVERY

King of Prussia

Pairs of drivers are needed to transport nutritious meals to hungry Montco residents through Meals on Wheels programs like this one. These automotive angels work Monday-Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., so your introduction on the MLK Day of Service can lead to more donation of time as your schedule allows.ary 16

DONATION CENTER

Norristown

Help out the greater Norristown community by logging a few hours sorting and packing donations to the Warehouse Narenj Tree Foundation, a philanthropic group that supplies humanitarian relief overseas. Currently, they are working diligently to counter the devastation from the war in Syria and would absolutely appreciate extra hands on January 16 and long after.

DRIVERS FOR DOCTORS' APPOINTMENTS

Bryn Mawr

Elderly and disabled patients often need assistance getting to/from their medical appointments. ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth connect them with willing drivers who generously give their time (and gasoline) to help. Hours can range from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and appointments themselves are generally less than two hours. For those who would like to help but feel uncomfortable using their own cars, ElderNet is also seeking companions to visit with lonely residents who are homebound.

NURSING HOME COMPANIONS

Glenside

Sometimes, the greatest gift a person can give is simply the gift of time. That’s exactly what Edgehill Nursing Home is seeking. Volunteers engage with residents in conversations, card games, music or even just in quiet companionship. Use this MLK Day of Service to brighten the spirits of a lonely senior.

PAWSibilities ANIMAL RESCUE

Horsham

If working with the Horsham’s Siberian Huskies isn’t your thing, how about cuddling up with a cozy kitty? The felines at PAWSibilities need lots of gentle human interaction as they await permanent homes.

VALLEY YOUTH HOUSE

Norristown

Mentors are sought to assist in teaching youths between 14-21 to live productively and independently. Volunteers who step up for this challenge have the potential to instill skills and vision that will last a teen his or her whole life. An application and training are needed, but connecting as part of the 2017 Day of Service can be the first step.