Is This the Year You Will Volunteer on MLK Day?

Three women smile as they prepare food in a kitchen

Volunteering to prepare meals at the Washington DC Fisher House are (l-r) Onika Coke-Muñoz, Chief, Professional Development, Office of Employee Development & Training (VBA), Tongela Moore, VA Construction and Facilities Management Training Officer, and Sabrina C. Clark, Director, VA Voluntary Service, Veterans Health Administration.

Photo by Kyle Malloy

To celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year, millions of Americans will make a commitment to serve not just on one day, but throughout the year.

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off.”

Every year, federal agencies, nonprofit and community groups, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses nationwide turn the MLK Day into a national day of service to make an impact on their communities.

Thousands of dedicated volunteers in VA facilities across the country will spend the holiday as an extra day of service helping Veterans and their families in hundreds of different ways. VA Secretary Robert McDonald will join other VA employees and volunteers at the Washington DC Fisher House on the MLK Day of Service to prepare meals for Veterans and their families.

 Being a part of this volunteer activity truly demonstrates VA’s culture of service. 

According to Sabrina Clark, Director of VA Voluntary Service for the Veterans Health Administration, “Secretary McDonald has asked us as employees to recommit to VA’s core values known as: I CARE — Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence. The Day of Service is an ideal time for what I’m calling an “I Care Challenge,” an opportunity to think about our mission in a meaningful way, unrelated to our work, and connect even more deeply to our responsibility to Veterans.

“Being a part of this volunteer activity truly demonstrates VA’s culture of service — a culture that goes beyond just getting up and going to work each day. It’s a part of the fabric of who so many VA employees are at their core — devoted, committed to doing our best for Veterans and their families.”

In 2014, over 76,000 active VA Voluntary Service volunteers gave more than 11 million hours in service to America’s Veterans. It is impossible to calculate the amount of caring and sharing that these volunteers provide to Veteran patients. Our volunteers are a priceless asset to the nation’s Veterans and to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What’s it like to be a VA volunteer? Watch these stories from VA Volunteers and patients.

Want to join? Start here.

A woman serves food to a woman at a table

Sabrina C. Clark, Director, VA Voluntary Service, Veterans Health Administration, serves up lunch at the Washington DC Fisher House as part of MLK Day of Service.

Photo by Kyle Malloy

MLK Day is a time to re-commit ourselves to the nation by serving each other and our communities. Americans across the country will honor Dr. King by helping their neighbors and communities at thousands of projects spread across all 50 states.

Service is a powerful way for citizens, nonprofits, the private sector, and government to work together to meet critical needs and advance King’s dream of opportunity for all.

MLK Day is an opportunity for all Americans to put the core American principles of citizenship and service into action. Find out how you can help in your community from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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