5th Annual National Day of Service: Here’s the How and Why!

Martin Luther King Day may be a day off of work, but it’s definitely a day “on” for giving back.

While hundreds of thousands of people are expected in Washington, DC to honor President Obama’s second inauguration this weekend, there will be many who choose to stay local and serve their communities in support of the National Day of Service. This commemorative day began four years ago when the new President requested the nation to honor Martin Luther King Day by participating in service activities.

This year’s Day of Service falls on Saturday, January 19. On this day and throughout the holiday weekend, people will come together to better their communities by delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collect food and clothing, support veterans and military families, and much more.

If the holiday doesn’t motivate you, maybe some of the known physical, emotional and spiritual benefits will!

You may have heard of the “Helper’s High,” which is an overwhelming sense of happiness and well being that volunteers often feel when they are giving back. The release of endorphins during a “Helper’s High” has also been known to reduce stress, pain and fatigue.

But chief among the benefits of volunteering is helping to meet the physical and emotional needs of families and individuals in your community.

Branches of The Salvation Army are participating in the Day of Service by offering a variety of volunteer opportunities. Use these resources to find service activities in your community:

  • Get in contact with your local Salvation Army to learn about weekend activities. Enter your zip code at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org for a list of Salvation Army locations near you.
  • Visit www.volunteermatch.org for a plethora of service opportunities at nonprofits, charities and community centers near you.
  • “Find a project” or register your own event at http://mlkday.gov/
  • Call up your church or favorite local nonprofit to find out how you can serve this weekend and beyond.

Don’t feel like taking off your pajamas? Try “virtual volunteering” by making a donation online to your charity of choice, or by spending time on websites such as GoodSearch, GoodDining or Tab for A Cause. Another option is to support The Salvation Army’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey by donating online here. 

However you choose to give back this weekend, we thank you for celebrating the National Day of Service!