Make this Monday a day on, not a day off, by volunteering locally in Brooklyn.

This January 17 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federally recognized holiday commemorating the values which defined King’s character — justice, compassion, dignity, nonviolence and service.

Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, and the federal holiday celebrates his birthday, which falls on January 15.

Family-friendly volunteering opportunities for all ages scatter the borough this weekend, including activities like rebuilding planter beds at Bushwick City Farm, painting a community mural in Sunset Park, packing hygiene kits at Brower Park, caring for the chicken coops in Weeksville and more.

“Part of living in a community is making sure that all of your neighbors have enough, every day,” Rachel Figurasmith, the northeast regional director at Repair the World, said. “Service is just one of the really important ways to do that.”

Repair the World is partnering with local organizations to host nearly 30 different volunteering opportunities all across the city and virtually between Jan. 14 and 17; here, we’ve rounded out 10 places you can help out over the long weekend.

Package hygiene kits in Brooklyn Heights

Create hygiene kits with your friends and family to be donated to Brooklyn Community Services, an organization that provides vital access to essentials and comprehensive support for neighbors in need across Brooklyn.

Masks and COVID-19 vaccine cards are required.

The event will take place from 9:30am to 3:30pm on Jan. 16 and 17 at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church. The church is located at 157 Montague Street. Register here.

Rebuild Bushwick City Farm

Spring is coming! Rebuild planter beds and fences and prepare for spring at Bushwick City Farm, which serves its Bushwick and Bed-Stuy neighbors, public school students and local businesses.

Volunteers will work outside in two-hour shifts using tools to maintain the green space and prepare it to grow free, local produce for the surrounding neighbors.

The event will take place on Jan. 17 from 11:00am to 4:00 pm, at Bushwick City Farm. The farm is located at 354 Stockton St. in Bushwick. Register here.

Clothing distribution and more in Brownsville

Gamma Iota Lambda’s fraternity brothers will host their seventh annual MLK Day of Service at Mount Ollie Baptist Church in Brownsville. There will be clothing donation and distribution, hot meal distribution and toiletry bag packing and giveaways.

Volunteers of all ages and donations of gently used clothing and new toiletries are needed.

The event will take place from 11:00am through 2:00pm at Mt. Ollie Baptist Church. The church is located at 1698 St. Marks Avenue.

Flier from Facebook.

Chicken coop care at Imani Garden in Weeksville

Care for the chicken coops and their feathered residents at Imani Garden, a local urban farm in Weeksville.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to help add sand to replace the chicken’s soil and reorganize the garden storage shed so that the community can benefit from the garden’s produce and its fresh eggs.

This event will take place outside, so dressing warmly is recommended. Kids under 15 must be supervised by an adult, and all volunteers must wear masks outside, which will be provided if needed. 

The event will take place on Jan. 16 from 10:30am to 12:00pm at Imani Garden. The garden is located at 91 Schenectady Avenue. Register here.

Paint a community mural in Sunset Park

Mixteca, a vital organization addressing the needs of the Mexican and Latin American immigrant community in Brooklyn, is in need of a new mural in its community space.

Practice your painting skills and help create a vibrant, uplifting indoor piece of art in collaboration with a local artist. This event is open to teens and adults ages 16 and up. Volunteers can sign up for one-and-a-half-hour painting shifts on Jan. 16 from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Mixteca is located at 245 23rd Street on the second floor. For registration and more information on accessibility, click here.

Last year’s community mural at Mixteca in Sunset Park. Photo: provided by Rachel Figurasmith.

Renotvate and refill a Crown Heights community fridge

Community fridges, the mutual aid food pantries that gained popularity at the onset of the pandemic, have become vital to neighborhood welfare. However, these entirely volunteer-run pantries are in need of some care and deep cleaning in order to properly serve the borough’s food insecure population.

Paint, clean and stock the Classon Community Fridge and its surrounding neighborhood with Repair the World on Jan. 17 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm.

In addition to rehabilitating the fridge and pantry, volunteers are asked to bring donations of fresh and nonperishable food to fill the fridge and pantry.

This event, which will take place at 641 Classon Avenue, is open to people ages 18 and up.

The free food fridge on Van Buren St. Photo: A New World In Our Hearts' Instagram.
The free food fridge on Van Buren St. Photo: A New World In Our Hearts’ Instagram.

Young kids: package baby diaper kits at Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn’s littlest volunteers can take part in MLK day by packing diapers and baby essentials to be donated to Little Essentials, an organization that offers at-risk families access to children’s supplies and parenting education to promote the health of their young children.

This volunteering project will take place at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum as part of a day full of activities honoring King that includes shadow puppet performances and puppet-making with Nehprii Amenii, poster-making and protest marching with Brooklyn-based musician Fyütch and the creation of a community dream cloud in BCM’s ColorLab art studio.

The volunteer project will take place on Jan. 17 from 10:00am to 1:00pm at 145 Brooklyn Avenue.

Package Baby Care Essentials in Brower Park

Repair the World Brooklyn and Friends of Brower Park are teaming up on January 17 at Brower Park in Crown Heights to package diapers and other baby essentials for parents in need.

The packages will be given to St John’s Bread and Life, which provides vital access to food, a computer center and comprehensive case management support for neighbors in need across Bed Stuy. 

The event will take place outside from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the Shirley Chisholm Circle at Brower Park. Register to help pack care kits here.

Families: read, clean and dream at Brower Park

After the baby care essentials packing wraps up, join Repair the World Brooklyn and Friends of Brower Park for a park clean-up and a family-friendly history walking tour of Brower Park in Crown Heights. Volunteers will also engage in service-learning and reflection.

The event will begin at 3:00pm at the Shirley Chisholm Circle in Brower Park. RSVP here.

Prepare and distribute Halal food in Kensington

Free food is hard to come by, but free, Halal food is even more rare.

Volunteer with Council of Peoples Organization, which provides free, Halal food every week and is vital for Brooklyn’s food insecure Muslim population.

Help the Council of Peoples Organization prepare and serve the hot, free, hearty Halal meals directly to clients on Friday, Jan. 14 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm in Kensington, Brooklyn at CoPO’s food pantry. Register here.

Join BK Democratic Party’s PPE and Food giveaways

The Kings County Democratic Party is hosting six events this weekend where volunteers can help the community with PPE and food giveaways in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Register here to volunteer.

Miranda Levingston

Covering everything Brooklyn. Twitter: @MLevNews

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