The Lead

5 ways across 5 Pa. regions: How to give back on this MLK Day of Service

By: - January 17, 2022 6:30 am

Volunteers serve meals at a Pittsburgh soup kitchen. (Image Source: US Air Force via Creative Commons.)

For the second consecutive year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will look a little different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

While there are plenty of in-person volunteer opportunities available statewide, there also are virtual volunteer opportunities to allow anyone to give back this year. 

The list shared below is by no means exhaustive as there are numerous organizations hosting events on Jan. 17. Instead, use this list as a starting point to find ways to serve fellow Pennsylvanians and to honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Erie & Northwestern Pa. 

In addition to donating food and needed items, volunteers in the Erie area are needed to share their knowledge with regional small business owners and to mentor youth in the community. 

Pennsylvanians in Erie and the surrounding area can find out more here. 

Scranton area & Northeastern Pa. 

From helping veterans in need to teaching music, there are several volunteer opportunities available to Pennsylvanians in the Scranton area. 

Details on regional opportunities can be found by zip code here.

Greater Philadelphia

Pennsylvanians in the greater Philadelphia area have a plethora of worthy causes to choose from when it comes to donating their time on MLK Day of Service. Philadelphians and their neighbors can find events and volunteer opportunities here. 

Central Pa. 

Whether you want to donate your time virtually on in-person, there are numerous ways to get involved in the central Pennsylvania community. 

You can view and register for events and opportunities in the region here. 

Pittsburgh Area

Recycling projects and collecting items for individuals experiencing homelessness are just a few of the volunteer opportunities available in the Pittsburgh area. 

Those interested can view all the details here by typing in their zip codes.  

Other Ways to get Involved

Looking for other ways to get involved that aren’t listed in the directories above? 

Here are other ways to help your community: 

  • Train Others – Use the day to train or recruit volunteers at an organization you already donate your time to. 
  • Workforce Training – Serve others in your community by helping them practice job interviewing skills and perfect the art of resume writing.
  • Neighbors in Need – A small, but appreciated way to help members of your community is to help shovel sidewalks and driveways, winterize windows and doors and check or change the batteries in smoke detectors for elderly community members or those with disabilities. 
  • Organize a Food Drive – Families and businesses can easily sign up to host their own food drives. Food drives can be hosted virtually to collect funds for local food banks or can collect physical food donations. 
  • Tax Preparation – Are you an accountant or tax professional? A rewarding way to give back might be to offer a seminar or class on tax preparation for first timers.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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