Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, coming up this year on January 21, is such a great time to show kids how to be a helpful part of their community. Use this year as an opportunity to join your kids in acts of service, whether it’s with gardening gloves or serving a meal with a smile. Honor the memory of King, and join in on this day of service around the city. We’ve rounded up some options below for families with kids of all ages. Read on for more!

photo: melania via flickr

Sort Food at the Oregon Food Bank

The Oregon Food Bank is on a decades-old mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes—join them and help unpack and sort donated food! The food is headed for agencies that distribute directly to low income people in the area. This is a great way to spark conversations with kids about communities with extra needs, and how to pitch in. It’s an easy indoor task that’s open to kids age 6 and up!

Ages 6 and up
Several openings, check online to sign up
Oregon Food Bank
7900 NE 33rd Dr
503-200-3355
Sign up online: handsonportland.org

Plant Trees in SE Portland

Join Friends of Trees as they improve the world around themby planting trees! You’ll work in a few neighborhoods around the SE, like Lents and Powelhurst-Gilbert, making sure the new trees are fully settled into their new homes. This is a fun event with almost everything provided except for the hard work! Breakfast treats, gloves, tools, guidance, hot drinks, and even a warm potluck lunch! Ages 6 and up are welcome. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and get ready to get a little dirty.

Ages 6 and up
Sat, Jan 19, 8:45 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Meet at Lents Gilbert Church
503-200-3355
Sign up online: handsonportland.org

photo: lauren via yelp

Join the Eco Crew at Tryon Creek

Jump into efforts to maintain and improve the lovely park paths at Tryon Creek! The Eco Crew, open to anyone above age 5, will handle outdoor tasks like trail maintenance and invasive plant removal. You’ll be provided with gloves, tools, all the instructions you need, and the promise of some rewarding work in the park!

Ages 5 and up
Sat, Jan 19, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Meet at Tryon Creek State Natural Area
11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
503-200-3355
Sign up online: handsonportland.org

Sort Books at Fort Vancouver Library

Be a good helper by pitching in at the library! Volunteers will spend their time sorting books, re-stocking books for sale, and even assisting customers in finding the right places to look for books. This special book sale benefits early childhood development, and is reliant on the generous time of donors– like you!

Ages 10 and up
Several openings, check online to sign up
Fort Vancouver Regional Library
503-200-3355
Sign up online: handsonportland.org

photo: Potluck In The Park

Potluck in the Park

This event, serving a hot meal to anyone in need, has been running since 1991 on every Sunday. Pitch in by helping unload food and supplies, setting up the meal service, and then serving hot or cold food to guests in line. It’s a great way to give back to the community at a completely volunteer-driven event. Only a few spots left for this time slot, so jump in soon!

Ages 12 and up
Sun, Jan 20, 2p.m. – 4:20 p.m.
Under the Hawthorne Bridge
503-226-9285
Sign up online: handsonportland.org

Wisdom of the Elders

This Native American nonprofit serves the community with a vision of cultural and environmental sustainability: help out in their garden and office to organize and clean it up both inside and out. While there, learn about their commitment to preserving and sharing oral history, their Native youth leadership initiative, and several multimedia projects.

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Ages 5 and up
Fri, Jan 18, 1 p.m.- 4p.m.
Mon, Jan 21, 1 p.m.- 4p.m.
503-200-3355
Sign up online:  handsonportland.org

—Katrina Emery