Honor the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by joining others in a weekend of community service. Across the country, neighbors of all ages will gather to plant trees, clean up neighborhoods, serve meals, and much more during this national holiday weekend. Even the littlest can lend a hand, because it’s never too early to contribute. Portlanders really take that to heart: local volunteer opportunities fill quickly, so be sure to sign up early! Read on to learn how your family can get involved.


Spruce Up the Family Promise Day Center

Got a knack for cleaning and organizing? Sign up to clean windows, sanitize toys, organize books and kitchen items, and pick up trash around this hospitality program for families experiencing homelessness. Kids over 5 with a chaperone are welcome to join in the spruce-up. Put on your work clothes and pitch in, then stick around for refreshments and connecting with other community helpers.

Ages: 5 and up
Fri., Jan 17, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Family Promise Day Center
Sunset Presbyterian Church
14986 NW Cornell Rd.
Portland, OR
Online: handsonportland.org

Support Early Literacy at the Fort Vancouver Library Book Sale

This annual book sale benefits literacy programs focused on the littlest readers in the Ft. Vancouver Regional Library’s 13-branch system. Book worms over 12 are invited to help sort and restock book sale items, and assist customers in locating titles and transporting purchases to their cars. Wear comfortable clothing with pockets to stash your valuables, since safe storage will be unavailable during the event

Ages: 12 and up
Fri., Jan 17, 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.
Ft. Vancouver Regional Library Operations Center
1007 E Mill Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA
Online: handsonportland.org


Dig into Community at Buckman Community Garden

Do you love the satisfaction of weeding a garden plot in the fresh winter air? Work alongside community gardeners to install retaining walls, remove invasive plants, and weed perennial plantings. Volunteers over age 8 are welcome to don a pair of gloves and pitch in at Buckman Community Garden, one of 57 community gardens throughout the city that improve access to fresh, affordable food and other social and physical benefit, with an equity lens.

Ages: 8 and up
Sat., Jan. 18, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Buckman Community Garden
SE 18th Ave. & Oak St.
Portland, OR
Online: handsonportland.org

Plants Trees at Kelly Butte Natural Area

Join Portland Parks and Recreation in planting trees in the beautiful Kelly Butte Natural Area. Wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to lend a hand, rain or shine. Come early to help set up, and stay late to enjoy coffee and refreshments with other community members.

Ages: All ages welcome
Sat., Jan. 18, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Kelly Butte Natural Area
SE 103rd Ave.
Portland, OR
Online: handsonportland.org

Weed Paths and Pet Pooches with the Oregon Humane Society

Did you know the Oregon Humane Society has a natural area where they walk shelter dogs? Round up the kids and help spread bark on walking paths, prune, and weed, and you might just get a visit from some of OHS’s friendly dogs. Be sure to wear long pants and sleeves, closed-toe shoes, and wet weather gear.

Ages: 12 and up
Sat., Jan 18, 10 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Oregon Humane Society
1067 NE Columbia Blvd.
Portland OR
Online: handsonportland.org


Make Blankets for Kids and Teens in Shelters

Even little kids can lend a hand at this marathon blanket-making volunteer event, put on by the Portland chapter of Binky Patrol. You can help sew, tie off, and trim blankets for distribution to kids and teens in shelters. Pack a lunch and be prepared for nonstop blanket-making– and fun.

Ages: 4 and up
Mon., Jan. 21, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Beaverton, OR
(Address given upon sign-up)
Online: handsonportland.org

Clean up MLK Blvd. with SOLVE

All ages are welcome to help pick up litter along MLK Blvd. in Northeast Portland. SOLVE Oregon organizes neighborhood and beach clean-ups throughout Oregon, bringing community members together to care for the earth. You can be part of their 50+ years of action by signing up to help on MLK Day! Wear close-toed shoes and bring water, work gloves, and a bucket or bag. Cleanup supplies like litter grabbers will be provided.

Ages: All ages welcome
Mon., Jan. 21, 9:30 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Irving Park
700 NE Fremont
Portland, OR
Online: solveoregon.org

Celebrate King’s Legacy in Community

After a weekend of pitching in in honor of MLK, Jr., join community members in celebrating his legacy with spoken word, musical, vocal and dance performances. This free event is followed by a reception and resource fair, and all ages are welcome.

Ages: All ages welcome
Mon., Jan. 21, Doors at 5:30 p.m., event at 6 p.m.
Chehalem Cultural Center
514 E. Sheridan St.
Newberg, OR
Online: chehalemculturalcenter.org

-Melissa Poulin

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