Philly MLK Service Day

Every year in the brisk chill of January, Philadelphians warm their city's heart by participating in innumerable community service projects on behalf of the one and only, Martin Luther King Jr. This year, we've put together a quick list of some projects that are happening around the area for you to play your part in. Don't miss out on the sense of community and responsibility that we owe to MLK Jr. every year!

1. Overbrook High School Clean Up: Monday, 1/20, Overbrook High School

Help Purpletye clean up Overbrook High School as their action for the day of service. Email for more information

2. Chosen 300 Ministries Homeless Meal Servings: Center City, Saturday 1/18 at 4:30 PM

Prepare and serve meals to homeless and less fortunate persons. Note: Volunteers must be 16 or older. Email to volunteer

3. Philadelphia Recovery Community Center Outdoor Cleanup:  Monday, 1/20 at 1:00 PM

Volunteers are needed in cleaning up the streets of Lehigh Avenue from Broad Street to 22nd Street. Volunteers will utilize brooms, shovels, trash bags, rakes, and gloves to pick up trash and recyclables from the street of North Philadelphia. Email to register.

4. Chosen Friends Painting & Cleanup: Monday, 1/20, 9:30 AM at Charles Papa Playground & Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

Volunteers will paint the exterior walls of the recreation center, create murals paintings on the wall facing the football field and on the side of the 40-foot long storage containers that are used by the youth baseball and football programs. 

In addition, volunteers will perform winter clean up of the baseball, soccer, and football fields. If possible, we would like to Power wash the recreation center windows and paint the interior walls and floors of the recreation center bathrooms. Email to volunteer.

5. Hello World Campaign: Monday, 1/20 at 10:00 AM at VARE Recreation Center

The Hello World Campaign is a community-based project whose goal is to encourage youth and adults that obstacles become opportunities. Our goal is to encourage individuals to embrace their differences by expressing their life experiences in order to motivate and inspire change in someone else.

Hello World Campaign volunteers will primarily work with participants and provide assistance with executing this creative collaborative campaign. Responsibilities will consist of facilitating stations such as sign in, information, creative writing, photoshoot prep, food distribution, clean up, etc. Email to volunteer.


Don't have time to volunteer at an event? Consider donations to various nonprofits around the city.

1. Depaul USA PB & J Drive: Monday, 1/20, 9a-4p at Depaul House, 

Help homeless men who are re-entering the workforce by donating jars of peanut butter and jelly so they can make sandwiches to take with them for lunch. Collect peanut butter and jelly from your community. Depaul staff can help by supplying you with a toolkit to prepare for your PB&J drive. Drop off items on MLK Day and join us for a lunch service. Depaul staff can also arrange for pick up, if necessary.

2. Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center: Monday, 1/20-31 at Parent-Infant Center:

Donation boxes will be set up at the Parent-Infant Center to collect paper towels, bleach, dog or cat food (dry or wet), latex gloves, gauze bandages, and receiving blankets for donation to Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center. Volunteers should also get in contact with the project coordinator, Linda Delenick, to coordinate drop-off times by calling 215-482-5473 and leaving a message.

3. Birthday Boxes: Monday, 1/20 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church

Volunteers can donate shoeboxes, cake mix, icing, party hats, blowers, and small toys to be assembled for donation on the MLK Day of Service. 

4. Philadbundance Food Drive: Monday, 1/20, African American Museum

Stop by the African American Museum to donate canned goods to Philabundance.

5. Hygiene for Humanity Toiletry Drive: Monday, 1/20 from 10a-5p at Drexel University

Come donate new, unopened toiletries that will be distributed throughout shelters in the Philadelphia area. This drive will occur at Drexel University’s University City campus at various locations that will be updated as they are confirmed. Donations will be accepted from January 20th at 10am to January 22nd at 5pm.

For dozens more ideas for a service project near you, visit


"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?'"

-MLK, Jr.