Each year, Americans come together on Martin Luther King Day to commemorate King's legacy by giving back to their communities.
This year, the MLK Day of Service coincides with the Presidential Inauguration. According to United We Serve, President Obama has asked citizens to join him both in participating in a day of service on Saturday, Jan. 19, and in pledging to volunteer throughout 2013.
On Friday, Lower Merion School District will hold its 4th Annual Afternoon of Service beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Harriton High School. According to the district website, activities include a letter-writing campaign to U.S. troops, pillow-making for hospital patients, sorting of collection items, valentines for veterans, readings on the life of Dr. King and more. District families, staff and students are invited to attend. Get more info here.
Cynwyd Heritage Trail will hold its annual volunteer day on Monday. Meet near Cynwyd Park Playground at 9 a.m. and help clean up the area till 1 p.m. All ages are welcome. Tools, gloves and refreshments will be provided. The Friends are also looking for food donations (bake goods and breakfast food). Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help out with food.
If you know of other Day of Service events happening in Lower Merion or Narberth, tell us in the comments.
Whether you give back on Saturday, Monday, or on your own 'Day of Service' this year, here are some places in Lower Merion and Narberth that would love your help throughout the year.
Narberth Food Bank: The food bank accepts donations of food and items like shampoo, soap and dish detergent on Monday nights from 7 to 8 p.m. at United Methodist Church of Narberth, 206 Price Avenue, Narberth. A list of most needed items is available on the website. Volunteers can also help with sorting, shelving, letter stuffing, and working with guests.
Linwood Park: The Friends of Linwood Park organize events all year, including an upcoming Feb. 2 event for kids and adults to help design a play platform for the park. Or in the meantime, head to the park to pick up trash, sticks and debris and keep it clean for neighbors to enjoy.
Riverbend Environmental Education Center: Riverbend has a myriad of volunteer opportunities, ranging from participating in a trail cleanup to serving as an animal care volunteer or marketing intern. Check out the list.
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: Based in Wynnewood, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raises money for childhood cancer research through a number of large- and small-scale fundraising events each year. Volunteers can work special events, serve as Lemonade Day ambassadors, work in the ALSF office, or help with social media networking. Read the volunteer opportunities page on the ALSF website.
Lower Merion Conservancy: Lower Merion Conservancy is a nonprofit group dedicated to open spaces and clear streams. You can volunteer by serving as a stream keeper, birdwatcher, butterfly counter, gardener or more. See volunteer opportunities here.
PALM: The Center for Positive Aging in Lower Merion helps foster community connections for older adults in the Lower Merion community. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways, including fundraising, marketing, trip escort, administrative supports and more. Check out more.
ElderNet: Since 1976, ElderNet has helped older and disabled adults, in Lower Merion and Narberth, to remain living independently and safely in their homes by providing free, practical, volunteer, and social work services. Their mission of "neighbors helping neighbors" relies on volunteers and community support.
Jewish Relief Agency: Based in Bala Cynwyd, JRAid needs volunteers to help home bound seniors with transportation to medical appointments and the grocery store. They also need help distributing food to over 3,000 low income households in the Philadelphia area.
Main Line Health: Volunteers are needed to support Bryn Mawr Hospital and Paoli Hospital in bringing excellent care to the community. People of all ages, from high school through retirees, are encouraged to share their time and interests. Call 484-337-3058 or email if you would like to become a volunteer.
Ardmore Food Pantry: St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Ardmore works year-round to provide food to the needy in the area. Donations are always welcome, and volunteers "are needed to help staff the Food Pantry, collect food items, donate to the Spare Change-Spare Hunger fund, and to organizing events benefitting the Food Pantry." For more information, check out the pantry's website for a list of needed items, or contact Mike Finney at email@example.com.
Lower Merion Library System: The Lower Merion Library System relies on volunteers to work at the front circulation desk, help with shelving, assist with data entry and work on other projects, as needed. The library asks for a commitment of three hours every week or every other week. For more information, visit the volunteer page on the LMLS website.
Know another great Lower Merion or Narberth organization where residents can volunteer their time? Tell us in the comments.