The upcoming long weekend is a time to remember and appreciate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to our country, so while your kids may be jockeying to watch their favorite movies or play video games, why not look for ways to observe this important holiday? Your family can give back in the spirit of Dr. King with a “Day of Service” activity, take part in an MLK Jr. donation drive, honor his legacy at a celebration, or do a little bit of all three. Make use of your kids’ day off by making Monday a day on—and teach them the valuable lessons of kindness and service at the same time. (featured photo credit: iStock.com/Sean Pavone)
(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Events
Jersey Cares’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 16, various times
Your whole family can help out at this event virtually or in person. You can draw an electronic card, take a virtual Chopped challenge, or create a winter warmth kit. There are in-person project opportunities in various locations throughout New Jersey.
Virtual or various locations throughout New Jersey
Community Day: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Newark Museum of Art
January 16 at 12 PM
Start your MLK Jr. Day with dynamic performances, hands-on activities, and opportunities to help others. There will be a music and theatre showcase, gospel singers, and an African dance workshop. Kids can learn about Dr. King’s legacy through activities like “I Have a Dream” collaborative artwork, a kindness jar, and more. Please bring a non-perishable food item.
Cost: Free; registration is required
The Newark Museum of Art, 49 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
National Day of Service at Reeves-Reed Arboretum
January 16 at 9 AM
Families can stop by the Arboretum (on the patio outside the Stackhouse Education Center) to pick up supplies to create Valentine cards delivered to the Essential Workers in the community. Complete your card at home and return it to the Arboretum any time before February 8 in the container outside the Stackhouse Education Center.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum – 165 Hobart Ave, Summit, NJ 07901
Scotch Plains Fanwood MLK Day of Service
January 16, times vary per activity
Adults and families are welcome to join the Scotch Plains/Fanwood community to learn, remember, and volunteer. Opportunities to volunteer include a winter hat and glove collection, a food collection, and creating health kits and there will also be a story time and art project.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
January 16 at 1 PM
Drop in to spend time making thank you cards for organizations that do social justice work in New Jersey.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey- 68 Elm Street, Summit, NJ 07901
34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration
January 13 at 7:30 AM
The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at their 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration. Don’t miss keynote speaker Reverend Dale Caldwell.
Cost: $35 for adults and $10 for kids 16 and under
6 Industrial Way East, Eatontown, NJ 07724
A Day of Service In Nature
January 16 at 10 AM or 1 PM
Friends of Princeton Open Space, a nonprofit dedicated to land preservation, is hosting a Day of Service in Nature in honor of Dr. King at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve in Princeton. Have the whole family join (a parent must accompany kids under 16) to help restore native habitat for birds and other wildlife, as well as make space for future native plantings.
Cost: Free; complete a waiver form
Mountain Lake House Parking lot, 57 Mountain Ave, Princeton, NJ 08540; walk over to the project site as a group.
West Windsor Arts Council’s MLK Jr. Day of Service 2023
January 16 at 10 AM
Bring donations and help organize basic necessity kits for babies, moms in need, kids, and homeless shelters.
West Windsor Arts Center – 952 Alexander Road, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
Gloucester Township’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 16 at 8:30 AM
Be a part of fun and worthwhile service projects that will have a lasting impact on the entire community. Activities to create kits for the homeless, help animals, volunteer with seniors, and more will take place on-site and at various locations around Gloucester Township.
Charles W. Lewis Middle School, 875 Erial Road, Blackwood, NJ 08012
Martin Luther King Day of Service at Rutgers–Camden
January 16 at 9 AM
Rutgers–Camden, will be partnering with the city of Camden and the Office of the Mayor for a neighborhood clean-up. Make sure to register.
Cramer Hill Community Center, 1035 Reeves Ave Camden, NJ 08105
Ocean City’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony
January 16 at 12 PM
This event brings the community together to remember Dr. King through words, songs, and dance. The City of Ocean City annually honors residents of Ocean City with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards. There will also be a buffet luncheon.
Ocean City Music Pier – 825 Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ 08226
Volunteer Center of Burlington County’s MLK Jr. Day Unity Celebration- Kick-Off
January 14 at 11 AM
Burlington County residents can join hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in remembering and memorializing Dr. King by starting with a kick-off celebration to prepare for a weekend of events and activities, including an MLK donation challenge on Monday, January 16.
RVRHS Performing Arts Center, 520 Jacksonville Rd Mount Holly NJ 08060
Whitesbog’s MLK Jr. Day of Service
January 16 at 10 AM
Bundle up the fam for this on-site, in-person service day outdoors with activities that are weather-dependent. Projects include picking up trash and branches on the trails and moving boxes, taking down holiday decorations, and packing and organizing supplies. For something more creative (and less physical), your family can make thank you cards for community members.
120 W. Whitesbog Road, #34 Browns Mills, NJ 08015
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