Check out these opportunities to serve the community in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.

Volunteer Opportunities

Make Care Kits for Portlanders Experiencing Homelessness.
Blanchet House, which serves 2,000 meals a day to homeless Portlanders, is asking for care kits they can hand out to our houseless neighbors. Assembling care kits is something even toddlers can help with! Find out what to include in winter care kits here.

Help Get Books to Local Students
Powell’s City of Books partners with Schoolhouse Supplies to provide a Free Store for Teachers. Join them in sorting the donated books by grade level. Every child deserves the supplies necessary to learn, and you can help! Ages 14+ are welcome at this volunteer opportunity.
January 15, 2022, 9:00 am-12:00 pm.


Join the Downtown Portland Cleanup Movement with Solve
SOLVE will host cleanup events at four locations downtown: Waterfront Park at the Burnside Bridge, The Benson Hotel, The Standard, Central Eastside Industrial District.
January 17, see event website for times for each location.

Restore Terwilliger Blvd. Forest
Help restore this urban forest with the whole family. Volunteers ages 6+ are welcome. Help keep this nature area in great shape for people, plants and wildlife.
January 15, 2022, 9:00 am-12:00 pm.

Make Cards, Pack Food Sacks or Host a Food Drive for Portland Backpack.
At six school locations, Portland Backpack serves 1,000 kids weekly. Each food sack or gift-card envelope includes a love note. Your family can create and donate any amount of notes on 4″ x 6″ cards — a fun activity for all ages. You can also host your own packing event or pack food sacks at home. Decide how many kids you want to feed, then purchase the food needed using the Portland Backpack food list. 

Cook at Home for Youth Experiencing Homelessness.
Portland nonprofit p:ear builds positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth, ages 15 to 25, through education, art and recreation. They would love your help preparing nutritious to-go food for their clients. You can sign up to provide food here. Your family can also donate specific items like water bottles, snacks and supplies.

Repair Children’s Books to be Donated to Kids who Need Them.  
We love volunteering with The Children’s Book Bank to repair books to prepare them for a new home.  Learn how to sign up for a session here. Ages 10+.

Pack a Bag for the Portland Food Project.
Fill a green bag with nonperishable food every two months and put it outside your front door. That’s it! This is an easy and ongoing commitment to practice with your kids from home. The Portland Food Project is also looking for Neighborhood Coordinators who pick up donors’ green bags every two months on a predetermined Saturday and bring them to local food banks.

Donate Food.
Donate nonperishables to a local food bank like Neighborhood House in Southwest Portland or SnowCap in Fairview. Both are accepting food donations; you can check their websites to see what they need most. 

Help Plant a Nature Patch with Portland Parks and Recreation.
Nature patches are spaces within existing parks that are enhanced with natural elements for people and wildlife to enjoy. With PP&R staff, volunteers add Pacific Northwest plants, logs, boulders, paths and learning elements to underused areas to encourage people to play and explore. You can sign up to help plant a future nature patch here. Currently they don’t have events scheduled on January 15-17, but you may sign up for future plantings at their website.

Join the City of Tigard’s MLK Weekend of Service.
A variety of events are scheduled all weekend long, from ivy removal to volunteering in the library. The last day to sign up is January 12.

For more opportunities to serve, go to the Hands On Portland Calendar, or check out our roundup of Kid-Friendly Volunteer Opportunities.

Community Events

Keep Alive the Dream at Hollywood Theatre
The World Arts Foundation Inc. will present Keep Alive the Dream, a film honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will also feature live music and a Q&A. Admission is free. Reserve tickets here.
January 17, 2022, 3:00 pm.

The Skanner Foundation’s 36th Annual Martin Luther Kin Jr. Breakfast
Virtual this year, the free event will still include speakers and music performances. Register for your free ticket here.
January 17, 2022, 9:00 am.

Advancing Racial Equity: A Conversation with Clint Smith
This virtual conversation about racial equity features educator, poet, staff writer at The Atlantic and New York Times bestselling author Clint Smith. Tickets are $10, but if cost is a barrier, email [email protected] for a free ticket code.
January 19, 2022, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
Lake Oswego will host a celebration at Millennium Plaza Park to honor Martin Luther King, Jr, including speeches, live music, poetry readings and a silent meditative walk.
January 16, 2022, 2:00 pm.

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