Join United Way for MLK Day of Service + continue a nearly two-decade-long tradition


Previous MLK Day of Service projects brought in 1,000-2,000 volunteers each year to help the Greater Birmingham community. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama, taken pre-COVID19

For nearly two decades, volunteers across Birmingham have built up vulnerable parts of our community through hands-on service projects. See why participating during United Way of Central Alabama’s (UWCA) MLK Day of Service is a tradition you’ll wish you were a part of sooner. Sign up today for service events taking place Saturday, January 16 and Monday, January 18.

Here’s who you’re supporting during 2021 MLK Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to helping communities across the nation. He once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” What better way to honor his efforts than by giving back time to your neighborhoods?

“Martin Luther King Jr., of course, was very big on service. Volunteering in your community and knowing your community was very important to him and something he pushed.”

Benga Harrison, Director, United Way Hands On

This year, MLK Day of Service is shifting all its projects outdoors. Volunteers should wear a mask, stay six feet apart and bring an attitude to do good.

There’s a wide range of ways to help—whether it looks like building and stocking a little lending library, helping with gardening and landscaping at the Birmingham Southern College Ecoscape or cleaning up neighborhoods.

With each volunteer opportunity, participants have the unique and life-affirming chance to stretch their bubble of understanding and connect with different parts of Birmingham.

“Events like MLK Day of Service help volunteers understand the community a little better. You learn that we’re all the same. We all basically want the same things—to live in a community that’s clean, healthy and have jobs where you can keep a roof over your head and food on the table.”

Benga Harrison, Director, United Way Hands On

An initiative for the whole family

With the holidays over, that doesn’t mean traditions need to end. Make MLK Day of Service something you and your family look forward to each year.

Since the projects include a diverse list of family-friendly volunteer activities, there’s surely an opportunity everyone in your family can take part in together. See a full list of MLK Day of Service Projects.

From building schools to feeding the needy

Volunteer opportunities are available for every age, from children to senior citizens. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama, taken pre-COVID19

United Way Hands On started its service in 1999. The program organizes volunteer opportunities for companies, social groups and individuals.

Service days and events include all kinds of projects from building playgrounds in under 48 hours, assembling backpacks for food-insecure children to take home on the weekends and helping the homeless get access to housing and other services.

Part of the importance of this organization comes from forming face-to-face connections with those in need. Benga knows working with your community in this way opens people’s minds to who they’re helping.

“If people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, they’re more invested in that process. It helps them understand the community better, what the issues are and that there are truly issues.”

Benga Harrison, Director, United Way Hands On

Sign up for MLK Day of Service events and become a part of something bigger. Learn more about United Way Hands On through their website and Facebook.

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Irene Richardson
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