Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

National Day of Service

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day we are reminded that “we all can be great because we all can serve.” On this day across the nation, thousands of volunteers put those words into action to honor the legacy of Dr. King. 

This year in the tradition of honoring our nation’s greatest civil servant, we would like you to think about your community and what you want to see done in your community. Many local organizations are working diligently to address issues such as hunger, racial injustice, homelessness, mental health, and economic disparities. We recommend that you take the lead of local organizations before you begin to plan your service event to center your outreach efforts in the most pressing needs of your community. In the true spirit of our National Day of Service, this would be a great opportunity to connect and collaborate with community members and organizations that are committed to doing the work that brings communities together. 

We all have a responsibility to foster the communities we want to see, create a space for joy and belonging, and most importantly serve. We ask that you strive to create virtual opportunities for volunteers to serve impactfully and safely. Below you will find ideas for service activities that can take place virtually and in person.

Service Event Ideas

Community Meetings with an Attached Action

Host a virtual community meeting with an in-person follow-up such as:

*You can request a needs list from local non-profit organizations and organize a timeframe for your group to drop off items on the list (Great noncontact option)

Virtual Tutoring

Recruit a team of volunteers to do tutoring with a local organization or local school. 

  • Reach out to educational non-profits and local schools to ask if they need tutors
  • Reach out to online tutoring communities to set up tutoring opportunities for you or your group
  • Gather a group of professionals to offer mentorship and resume coaching to students at your local community college.

Community Conversations

Partner with local organizations and community groups to create conversation and cultivate community discussion about issues such as hunger, racial injustice, homelessness, mental health, and economic disparities. Include a sign-up at the end to encourage attendees to stay active after the conversation.

Crafting Events 

Recruit a group of volunteers to do arts and crafts to donate to a local non-profit or retirement home.

  • Blankets
  • Hats
  • Gloves

Care Packages

Recruit a group of community members to make care packages to drop off. Send out a items needed list before a virtual meeting to build them together and drop them off by a certain date. 

  • Ask local nursing homes if they have a needs list to build from.
  • Ask hospitals if they would like care packages for their staff or patients.
  • Consider making care packages for teachers, firefighters, or local civil servants

Community Libraries

Start a Little Free Library in your community and organize a virtual event to launch it.

Letter Writing

Host a virtual meeting to organize a group of volunteers to write letters to communities in need. 


This is not the longest list of things nor is it the only way you can volunteer, we encourage you to use your imagination and to be thoughtful about what community service means to you and your community. Remember you know your community best! 

Here’s a list of a few other ideas that may spark your interest.

You can create your own community event here.