Honor the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by joining others in a weekend of community service and virtual events. Across the country and in Portland, neighbors of all ages will gather (while socially distancing) to plant trees, clean up neighborhoods, serve meals, and much more during MLK day and the national holiday weekend. Even the littlest can lend a hand, because it’s never too early to contribute. Local MLK Day Portland volunteer opportunities fill quickly, so be sure to sign up early! Read on to learn how your family can celebrate.

Cook at Home For Youth Experiencing Homelessness

There’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. If you have a knack for cooking for big groups this is your way to give back on this MLK Day of service. HandsOn is looking for volunteers to provide burrito sack lunches and/or baked goods for 25+ people. Your donation is encouraged to be prepared at home then dropped at their downtown location (listed below). Sign up here.

Mon., Jan 18, 8 a.m.- 10 a.m.
338 NW 6th St.
Portland, OR
Online: handsonportland.org


Repair Children’s Books for Kids 

The Children’s Book Bank provides gift-quality books to the families that can’t wait to read them. They do this through repairing books, removing stickers, scribbles, and inscriptions. The best part? You and your family can help do this from the comfort of your home. Make an event of it by creating a zoom meeting in your friend group to do the same. It’s the perfect COVID-safe way to celebrate MLK Day with your kiddos.

Online: handsonportland.org

2021 World Arts Foundation’s Martin Luther King Tribute

The theme of the 2021 tribute is “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” drawing inspiration from Dr. King’s mission to ensure peace, social justice, civil rights, and human dignity for all. This MLK event will be streamed on multiple platforms for families to experience from home. The tribute features performing artists, activists, public officials, businesses, choirs, and youth who have participated in this event over the years. The program will be a combination of archival footage and contemporary interviews.

Jan. 18, 12 p.m.- 5 p.m.
Online: portlandlivingonthecheap

Clean up with SOLVE

All ages are welcome to help pick up litter, planting, and restoration events from Medford to Vancouver. 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. Find out where you can volunteer here.

Ages: All ages welcome
Online: solveoregon.org

Celebrate King’s Legacy in Community

Join the 11th annual Yamhill county MLK celebration with spoken word, musical, vocal and dance performances. This free event is followed by a reception and resource fair, and all ages are welcome. Due to current conditions this will be fully livestreamed on Youtube, Facebook, and Zoom.Mon., Jan. 18, event at 5:45 p.m. program at 6 p.m.

Online: chehalemculturalcenter.org

Celebrate MLK Day Getting Outdoors with National Parks Fee-Free Days

Parks waive entrance and other fees during the fee-free day with MLK Day marking the first of the year. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver is not only a historic site but a fun one too. See the evolution of this riverside fort come to life from fur trading post to military base to airfield, Fort Vancouver spans the history of the region. Go online for Covid restrictions.

Online: nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm

—Kris Wilhelmy

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